Tuesday, 21 June 2022

GARDEN: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables

GARDEN: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables
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Life is all about finding the small joys that you love and then embracing them on a daily basis. Gardening is a small joy that I've recently indulged in and it has quickly become part of my day-to-day life that I love. It isn't in fact a new love, however since having my first child seven years ago I had struggled to find the time to garden, as there was always a little person toddling around needing my full attention. Now that my children are all that bit older I'm able to rediscover my love for gardening and if it is something you think you'd find joy in then I urge you to do the same. 

When it comes to sourcing gardening tools there are few better than what Burgon & Ball has to offer. Their extensive range of hand held, long handled, cutting tools and accessories makes them the one place you need to shop at when looking to start gardening. To get started you don't need a lot of tools or equipment, so it really is worth while choosing outstanding quality items that will last for years, withstand the tougher aspects of gardening while looking classic and timeless at the same time. All of the pieces of gardening equipment mentioned within this guide are from Burgon & Ball; whether you're browsing for yourself or for a gift for a gardening lover you will be blown away by their classic designs, innovative product range and exceeding quality. 
What to Grow
When it comes to gardening there is a wealth of knowledge to be discovered, which I am most certainly at the beginning of but learning as you go is part of the pleasure. One of the first aspects to consider when starting to grow is what you want to grow. You may choose to focus on flowers, vegetables, fruit or foliage. This year I planted a few well established flowers/plants I have purchased from the garden centre, so I really want to shift my attention to growing my own vegetables/fruit. I opted for:

  • Striped Beetroot
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Mini Carrots
  • Mini Cucumbers
  • Courgettes
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate Peppers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Stripy Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Chilli
  • Apples
  • Rhubarb
Perhaps a slightly random mix, but I wanted to try to grow a few vegetables that are trickier to find in supermarkets. You can opt to grow from seed, which takes longer or have a head start by buying plug plants from garden centres or high street shops. The majority of the items above I am growing from seed, apart from the strawberries, apples, rhubarb and mini cucumbers. When planting your seeds into seed trays, compostable pots or into the ground use a Dibblet to ensure that the seeds are planted at the correct depth and a Planting Ruler to know that they are the right distance apart. 
If you're looking to start growing your own vegetables at this time of year, then it may be better to buy plug plants and pot/plant them yourself so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour earlier into summer. They will often need transplanting into larger pots when you get them home, which is done by filling your plant pot with rocks/broken crockery and good quality compost (you can use a Compost Scoop to make it easier and less messy), using a sturdy Hand Trowel to dig a hole plenty big enough for the plug plant to go in, removing the plastic pot it came in, carefully loosening off the roots and then gently placing it into the hole you've prepared. Cover with more compost and finally give it a good drink of water from either a hose or Waterfall Watering Can
Once in the ground or in a pot ensuring they are kept weed-free is important, as well as keeping an eye on slugs/snails because they love an overnight snack. I love using the Sophie Conran Kneeler for when I'm kneeling down because it makes it more comfortable, is ideal if the grass is still slightly wet and is small enough to easily carry around the garden as I go. 
It is also important to keep all of your beautiful plants labelled in order to tailor their care accordingly. Reusable plant labels that can be loved year after year are hard to come by, but these Copper Tags are not only beautiful but will only get better as they get weathered in the great outdoors. 
Where to Grow
We don't have a lot of space in our garden for growing vegetables in the ground and the fact that our garden is on a hill makes building a vegetable patch very tricky. Not to be deterred, I have opted for an array of pots in varying sizes and shapes. This allows me to place them in the best sunlight spot, as well as move them around if needed. If your space is limited then don't be put off from growing your own vegetables/fruits/herbs because all you need is a window sill to get started. When choosing what to grow it is also important to consider where you're going to grow them because some vegetables will need full sun (e.g. cucumbers, aubergine, beans etc.), so if you don't have a spot in the full sun then that will need to influence your choices. A quick search on the internet or look at the seed packet will tell you the position they need to grow to their full potential. 
When to Grow
The planting/growing season doesn't really ever start or stop, which is something that I've learnt this year. Aside from the depths of winter there is always something you can be growing indoors, whether that be on your window sill or in a greenhouse. A small greenhouse is an addition to the garden I would love to make next year, but we just need to find or create somewhere flat for it to sit first. This year I have made many 'make shift' greenhouses, some in a firepit or terracotta plant pot with a pane of glass over the top or a tray with cling film over the top on the window sill. It doesn't need to be fancy or perfect to start growing vegetables and that really is part of the joy. Trying to problem solve, create new growing areas, keep the seedlings alive etc. is all part gardening. 
I do love to try and keep everything organised though, so that when a problem does arises or a plant need some structural support etc. then I quickly know where everything is. The Hang-It Pegboard (£10.99) from Burgon & Ball is available in Sage, Cream or Charcoal and is the perfect place to pop your tools and accessories, such as Pocket Pruner, Gardening Gloves, Planting Ruler, Twine, Scissors, Hand Trowel, Seed Packets, Bamboo Supports etc. 
When it comes to the best part, harvesting, making sure you plan ahead slightly can ensure that none of your home grown goodies are wasted. Meal plan using the produce, bake with them or make freezer space for them to be enjoyed at a later date. One of the easiest ways to harvest apples is using an apple picker, so that you can access the really high ones. We have a couple of apple trees in our garden and every year I love to make big batches of apple crumble for the freezer. 
Essentially you don't need to be an expert in gardening to grow, all you need to do is get started! Whether that be a few herbs on your window sill, strawberries in a hanging basket, tomatoes on your balcony, beetroots in your back garden or courgettes in an allotment; you can discover or rediscover a love for gardening that may just become a daily small joy you can indulge in as part of your self-care routine. 

Are you into gardening?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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3 comments

  1. I have always grown up with home grown vegetables, as my Dad loved his garden. Sadly he is older now and it is too much for him but we still enjoy tomatoes etc

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  2. I love gardening and I Have been growing my own vegetables and fruits for a few years now. I think that rules is so handy, I'd definitely get one as I always plant my seeds too close to each other.

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  3. I have been into gardening lately, but never knew where to start. Great post for beginnners, like me!

    ReplyDelete

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