Whether you’re a seasoned expert or new to the world of growing your own vegetables, we’ve listed a series of top tips to help you successfully grow seasonal produce.
These should help to simplify the vegetable gardening process, enabling you to grow a diverse range of healthy vegetables.
Top tips for vegetable gardening
Save your tomatoes
Tomatoes are a popular option for vegetable gardening.
However, if it is starting to get cold outside, and you have tomatoes still ripening on the vine, now is the time to transfer your plants indoors.
You’ll need to find a warm dry location for best results and you should take your plants back outside when the weather improves.
This is a great way to enhance your vegetable garden, especially as certain species of plants are able to replenish the nutrients lost by others.
In addition to this, certain combinations of plants are able to effectively keep pests at bay.
Before combining plants, be sure to do your research, as not every specie will thrive alongside another.
Paint the handles of your garden tools a bright colour
It happens to the best of us, and we can all lose our garden tools among our plants at some point or another.
With this in mind, why not paint the handles a hot hue?
This way you’ll be able to spot them from a distance. Alternatively, keep a watertight box in your garden to encourage easy tool storage.
Compost needs time to integrate and stabilise in the soil
When applying compost, be sure to apply it two to three weeks prior to planting.
To avoid backache when mixing compost into your soil, simply spread the compost over your garden in the late fall, post harvesting.
Finish by covering with a winter mulch (chopped leaves and hay work well) and let nature do the rest.
Come spring, the soil organisms and melting snow will have completed the work for you.
Like vining vegetables, but don’t have much room?
Train your squash, melons and cucumbers to grow along a vertical trellis or fence.
This will save you a huge amount of space when vegetable gardening, while also helping you to create an aesthetically pleasing display.
Garden vegetables that become over-ripe tend to attract more pests than others.
To avoid unwanted pests, remove your ripe vegetables from your garden as soon as possible.
When the tops have fallen over, onions are ready to harvest. For best results, used raised beds when planting, with soil that is well-drained and loose.
When ready to harvest, store your onions in a dark, warm and dry environment until the tops dry. Once this has taken place, remove the foliage, and place in a cool, dry place.
Keep dirt off lettuce and cabbage leaves
When growing cabbage and lettuce, it’s wise to try and keep dirt off your vegetables.
This can be achieved by spreading a layer of mulch, measuring between one and two inches around each plant. This mulch should be free from pesticides and fertilisers and is also a great way to prevent weeds.
When planting flowers and vegetables, add a handful of compost into each planting hole as this will encourage transplants to last throughout the growing season.
This is especially important if moving your plants from indoors to out.
Insects detest plants such as onions, garlic, chives and chrysanthemums, so you can protect other species by planting those around the garden.
Planting earlier in the season can also help, as there may be fewer bugs around if you plant a few weeks earlier than normal.
Protect plants from frost
The likes of soda bottles, milk jugs and other plastic containers can be used as mini-covers to protect plants from frost.
It’s important to note that these should be removed before plants flower or temperatures increase too much.
Certain plants, including peas, thrive better indoors to begin with. The germination rate tends to be much better, and the seedlings much healthier.
Growing indoors creates stronger plants that are better equipped to fight off pests and diseases.
Always use healthy soil
Healthy soil is a must as it means healthy plants. Before planting certain species in your vegetable garden, be sure to do your research and choose the soil the plant thrives in the most.
You may wish to segment your vegetable garden if you need a diverse range of soils to grow the vegetables you want – this can be achieved with the addition of organic matter such as compost or manure.
When planting vegetables in your vegetable garden for the first time, opt for plants that are in season.
Certain species grow better in the summer months, while other species are better tailored to colder climates. If you wish to provide for your family all year round, it’s important to take note of seasonal produce!
Water but don’t overwater!
Water is extremely important. However, too much water can cause root rot.
You should therefore opt for pots with good drainage to encourage healthy growth. If sunny, your plants may require more water, if cooler; they’ll likely require less.