The first bite of a juicy, sweet tomato, the sumptuous flavour of strawberries warmed by the sun, the satisfying crunch of a delicious apple, the pleasing ‘pop’ of a pea pod … surely there are few more rewarding activities than growing and harvesting your own fruit and vegetables.
And don’t be daunted because it’s easier than you might think and, as well as being extremely satisfying, you’ll benefit from…
- better flavour – home-grown fruit and veg are renowned for their superior flavour over that of the fruit and veg you’ll find in a supermarket
- more variety – there’s a great choice of varieties of a huge selection of fruit and veg you can grow, so it’s easy to try something new and turn it into a family favourite.
- more of your five-a-day – if you’re growing your own fruit and veg, the chances are you’ll be eating something from your garden every day – so you’ll naturally increase your intake because there’ll always be something ready to try!
- produce that is fresh, fresh, fresh – it’s not difficult to understand that the sooner fruit and veg are eaten after harvesting, the fresher they are, so picking, preparing and eating straight away means that they won’t have chance to lose valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals – so much more nourishing that fruit and veg which have spent days travelling the country (and further) to a supermarket shelf.
- more exercise – anyone who has dug over a veg plot or carried a bag of compost can tell you that growing your own is also a great workout!
And if all that isn’t enough to convince you then remember that it’s cost effective too! Just a few packets of seeds, your own time and effort and a little careful planning can keep you picking produce for most of the year – and you can grow just as much as you need so there’s no waste either.
What you’ll need…
Getting started can be broadly summarised in three main areas – your plants, the growing environment you provide and the tools you’ll need. Let’s take a look at each…
Can take a variety of forms and come in a range of sizes such as:
- packets of seeds
- plug plants
- ‘seed’ vegetables and sets from which to start crops such as potatoes and onions
- fruit bushes and trees
You don’t actually need much to get started but, as with most things in life, the more effort you put in at the beginning and the more care you give your crops, the better they’ll perform – which means that you’ll get more tasty food to eat!
You’ll need to consider…
- soil condition – and improve it regularly with compost to ensure a fresh supply of nutrients and provide good, easy soil structure for your plants to grow in which will also help to retain water.
- ‘feeding’ your crops at the appropriate time will mean that your plants will grow healthier and stronger, which means they’ll be more resistant to disease and which should result in a better harvest.
- temperature and protection – and this could be anything and everything from warming the soil by covering it a few weeks before you plant seeds, to starting seeds of by propagating indoors, to protecting crops young crops from the worst weather with cloches, to protecting your crops from pests (and cheeky garden birds!) to using a greenhouse for tender crops.
plus of course you’ll need to ensure that your crops have adequate water as they grow and develop.
There are a range of things you’ll need to get started, as a guide we suggest:
- garden tools – such as a wheelbarrow spade, fork and hoe, plus a hand fork and trowel.
- seed trays and propagators – which are also available heated so that you can regulate temperature.
- pots of various sizes are extremely useful – to pot on tender plants as they develop before they’re planted out in the garden and for tender crops planted in the greenhouse – plus of cousre you can use pots and containers so that you can have fruit and veg anywhere in the garden.
- growing medium – such as seed compost in which to sow your seeds in trays and general purpose compost for potting on etc.
Worried about space?
Well don’t be – there are fruit and vegetables to suit any size growing space from pots to plots!
If you’ve got a dedicated fruit and vegetable garden then you’re very lucky, but even the smallest outdoor spaces can be used. Vegetables can be incorporated into beds and borders (consider them decorative edibles!), fruit trees are generally suitable for most garden sizes and can even be grown in pots as long as they receive proper care, plus of course pots and containers, including hanging baskets, can be used on patios and balconies to great effect – and you can always think up a few more creative ideas of your own too, the only limit is your imagination!
Great! Now you’re all fired up and ready to start growing your own, come and see us in-store. We’ll be happy to offer friendly, expert advice, plus we have everything you need to get your fruit and veg growing off to a flying start, and keep it going through to successful harvest too!
More Fruit and Veg related information…
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