Veg growing has exploded in the last few months because of COVID-19. Seed sales have rocketed around the world. Followers of Home Grown Life have told me they’ve taken to growing veg for comfort as well as for the joy of it. This article is for those who have thought about it but don’t know where to start.
Forget about the rules, get to know your veg
I used to love gardening when I was younger, and I recently started again. When I first got back into it though I felt overwhelmed. I looked at all the different rules I had to follow for each veg and seed. I was reading about how to grow each seed, each process, each detail, and I felt lost. I soon realised though that the best thing to do was to forget those rules. I realised that the best thing to do was to understand the vegetable and then the rest would come more naturally (with a bit of help from blogs and wise gurus).
All you need to get started – soil, sun, water and warmth 🌍☀💧🌡
It started to dawn on me that to get started all you needed to understand were four main principles. Your veg needs soil, sun, water and warmth (SSWW), that’s it. If you can get the right balance for your veg, then you’re off to a great start. What you need to understand is that each veg needs a different balance of SSWW, or what I like to call SSWWell to help me remember.
🌍 All veg needs soil; it needs to have the right soil with the nutrients it needs to grow. I’m simplifying here when I say soil meaning the earth that it grows in. (Soil is officially the top layer of the earth’s crust, and compost is more of a man-made substance made from organic waste which is full of nutrients for our plants.)
You’re usually better off with a mixture of soil and compost, but the main take away is that you have some kind of soil which is rich in nutrients to give the plants some food to grow. Get to know what your veg likes and that’s the kind of soil you need to give it. If you want to make things simple though, just find a good compost, and that will probably work.
☀ All veg needs sun – vegetables are plants, and they need the sun to thrive and photosynthesise. Some veg needs the sun more than others. Tomatoes, for example, need to have lots of sun whereas beetroot can tolerate some shade. This will help you work out where to place your different veg and which veg gets the sunniest spot.
💧 All veg needs water – just like us, veg also needs water and, just like us, plants need just enough water. If they don’t get any, they’ll dehydrate, and if they get too much, they’ll rot. Keep your veg watered and just try and learn how thirsty they are; tomatoes again love water whereas basil likes slightly dry soil.
Keep in mind the climate around it, don’t forget to give them some extra water if it’s going to be hot (just try not to water them during a midday sun to burn them). For my seedlings, I like to use a spray bottle so I can water them every day and control how much they get.
🌡 All veg needs warmth – veg and seeds like to be cosy, and they don’t like frost. Get to know how warm your veg likes to be, and that’ll help you work out if you should grow them inside or outside and how soon to expose them to the elements. Those picky tomatoes of course like it warm, this is why you need to grow them inside and keep them warm in a propagator or plastic bag, the same with peppers.
Cauliflower, on the other hand, is more tolerant; you can grow them straight outdoors from April in the UK, but before that, you should still start them off in a warmer place. Pretty much all your veg hates frost so you need to sow them outside after the last frost of the year and make sure you can harvest them before the first frost of the year.
🌱 Get started today
If you’ve got a space with the sun, you’ve got a place you can grow some veg. You could save money and reduce waste by growing your own veg. You get to try more veg than you’ll find in the supermarket and it usually tastes so much better. You can feel more secure by having your own veg patch right on your doorstep. If you’ve got any questions, send us a message. We’d love to help you grow some veg!
🍅🥔🥕🍆 You don’t need a veg patch
P.s. You don’t need a veg patch; many vegetables will grow in containers or grow bags and can give you lots of tasty veg. These include potatoes, tomatoes, radish, courgette, lettuce and peppers.