If you’ve always wanted to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home but aren’t sure where to start or think you haven’t got enough space in your garden to fulfil your fresh and organic food dreams, think again.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know, whether you’re starting with a fruit pot or a veg plot.
Why Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg at Home?
Sitting down to eat your home-grown fruit and veg is satisfying in terms of both taste and the money you’ll save, but there are many other benefits to enjoying the fruits of your labour.
Growing at home is the healthy and sustainable way to live, meaning that you’ll get the freshest foods, jam-packed with nutrients, as well as reducing waste.
You’ll also see a reduction in your grocery bills as you can feed your family for less with home-grown food. And as you’ll be avoiding supermarket fruit and veg and you won’t be exposed to nasty preservatives, your food will taste better.
Added to that, gardening is good for the soul, so what better time to start?
Where Can You Build a Vegetable Garden?
There’s loads you can do with limited space, so don’t feel disheartened if you don’t have a big lawn to build an allotment; you can still grow your five a day on a balcony. All you need is some pots and you can begin – even with just a window box.
How to Build a Vegetable Garden
A raised vegetable bed is one of the quickest and easiest ways to create your own vegetable garden at home, not to mention that it’s good for compaction problems because you don’t need to step on the soil, and veg grows better in soil that can breathe.
Contrary to popular belief, raised beds take up very little space and can also be built on grass or patio. A raised bed has good drainage, which is particularly useful if you live in the UK, with its regular rainfall; it also allows enough space for vegetable roots.
When the weather turns warmer in spring, the soil heats up more quickly in raised beds so you will be able to plant more easily.
To build a raised bed, you can use bricks, reclaimed wood or decking pieces for the outer shell. We’ve used decking for a quick, easily achievable project.
Take four pieces of deck board and cut them to the size and shape of your choice. Next, attach two by two wooden pegs to hold the corners together. Leave 25mm or so at the top so that when the bed is filled with soil you won’t see the pegs. Hold the wood in place with appropriate clamps that you can pick up from any DIY store.
Screw the posts into the end boards using deck screws. Use ones that are long enough to go through the board and pegs.
Dab preservative on the end grain of the pegs so they won’t rot and ruin the soil.
If you haven’t already, choose your location and position your frame. Next, loosen up the dirt within the frame with a spading fork to help your plants’ roots grow deep into the ground.
Gently hammer in the pegs using a mallet to keep your bed in position.
It’s also a good idea to add a sheet of mesh to the bottom of the frame. This helps keep weeds out.
Fill the bed with nutrient-rich soil and compost and add your vegetable seeds. Then just water and wait.
Check online calendars to see what’s best to grow when and you’ll soon be eating a rainbow of colourful foods grown from your very own garden.