Top 5 Vegetable Growing Tips

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

Growing vegetables in your own garden is, first and foremost, incredibly healthy and nutritious, providing your body with the essential nutrients and vitamins our bodies need that is lacking in supermarket veg.

Out Top 5 Vegetable Growing Tips will save you a lot of disappointment. Eating your home grown veg is far healthier and tastier than any other vegetables available just as long as you grow them without using any chemicals.

Not only will your own vegetables grown in the garden taste delicious, they’ll taste sweeter, and satisfy hunger cravings longer due to the abundance of nutrients packed inside them.

So let’s dig in and find out what our Top 5 Vegetable Growing Tips are.

1. Prepare the soil for growing your vegetables

Blandford Landscape Design

Preparation of your soil is critical to the success of your garden grown vegetables. Our advice is to carry out a simple Ph soil test before you go rushing off to buy a medium to add to the soil.

If you have acidic soil (lower number) you will want to bring that acidity down (up on the Ph scale) by adding either an alkaline based medium or adding organic food waste.

You could add lime, however this can be costly for larger areas. If you do add lime, use small amounts and then carry out regular Ph testing to ensure you don’t make the soil too alkaline.

If you want to go a step further, you can determine what soil you have, which will either be, loamy, sandy, clay, or just lifeless dirt.

Once you have established your Ph level and your soil type you can then add a medium to the soil (or dirt) to create an environment for microorganisms to thrive.

Compost is ideal and can be worked into the soil. Whereas manure, which will be high in nutrients such as nitrogen, Potassium and phosphate, but can often be too acidic for younger plants.

Our advice is to use a mix of 80% organic compost with 20% vermicompost (worm poo) this will give a great balance, allow microorganisms to thrive and produces on average 300% more growth.

You may want to use a no dig method. This is achieved by placing paper or cardboard directly on the existing dirt/soil, which is then covered in a 3 – 4″ layer of compost, finally adding straw on top or wood chippings. The card and eventually the straw and or wood chippings will break down providing you with excellent soil full of microorganisms and carbon.

What is the perfect soil?

A good well balanced soil should have a mix of organic matter such as mulch, leaves, decomposed organic food waste, straw etc and dirt. Some people add vermiculite to help with drainage but sharp sand can be used as an alternative.

2. PROTECTING YOUR SOIL

Once you have sorted your soil without disturbing the existing dirt too much we would cover it with organic/natural wood chippings (not bark!) this will, over time, break down and provide additional support and structure for the soil as well add food for the microbiology in the soil.

Wood chip also provides protection from the sun and thus helps retain moisture in the soil, meaning you’ll find yourself watering less often. Many people see dry compost or soil where there plants are and assume they’ll die if they aren’t drenched in water but that’s not true.

If you have a good medium and your humus (soil) is full of organic matter it should retain water for quite some time, even if the surface looks dry. One thing to remember is that plants draw up moisture at the roots, not the base or the leaves/foliage, so watering the surface may not ever reach the roots before it dries out again.

A good test is to put your finger in the soil, even if the plant has had no rain for a week or two but looks bone dry, you may find the compost/soil beneath is still wet. Overwatering plants makes them lazy and can stunt their growth as well as turn the leaves brown. Make your plants work hard and search for water, they will put out stronger root systems, be healthier and grow larger.

You can also use straw, if you have a pet rabbit or Guinea pig use the bedding, this will also protect the surface from the heat of the sun and retain moisture whilst providing food for the microorganisms.

3. FEEDING YOUR SOIL

What Are The 10 Best Vegetables To Grow In The Shade?

We feed the soil, not the plant.
When we add fertiliser, we add it to the soil which is then drawn up into the plant structure through the roots. Fertiliser helps the plant have more vigor, strength of the cell structure and promotes growth.

Avoid using chemicals if you’re eating the vegetables! Instead, use a natural organic fertiliser of which there are several options.

WEED TEA

Weed tea is simple and rewarding. All you need is a bucket which is half filled with weeds, any weeds will do, such as stinging nettles, dandelions, dock etc, then fill the bucket to the top with rain water. If you have to use tap water put it into a separate bucket first and let it sit for 24hrs so the chlorine settles.  Avoid adding Ivy.

Once you have your weeds steeped in rain water, cover with a lid and leave for 2 weeks. You may need to check it every 3 – 4 days to allow any gasses to release.

After two weeks, use it neat and pour onto your the soil using a watering can. You can leave it longer to obtain a more concentrated solution. In which case for every extra week you leave the weed tea we would recommend diluting it with an extra 10% of water. For example, add 2 litres of water to 10 ltrs of weed tea that has been steeped for 4 weeks to create 12 litres of natural organic fertiliser

VERMICOMPOST

Vermicompost is worm poo produced by specific Worms such as Red Wrigglers which eat mashed up organic food waste creating a very nutrient rich and high in microbial activity medium similar to damp compost.

It is so effective that many plants perform 300% better! Either add 20% vermicompost to 80% compost or drizzle it on your soil around your plants sparingly.

4. PEST CONTROL

Top 5 Vegetable Growing Tips

One of our biggest frustrations is pests such as snails, slugs, caterpillars and even birds eating our vegetables.

The best solution to combat snails is simply to go out after dark, preferably when the ground is wet and take a torch. Looking for snails in damp, moist conditions is actually quite easy and you will have several if not dozens in no time.

Other pest control for vegetables include,

  • Crushed egg shells
  • Plastic 2ltr soda bottles with the bottom chopped off placed over younger plants until they’re established.
  • Sheep’s wool
  • Straw
  • Chickens!
  • Ducks!
  • Hedgehogs
  • Beer in a pot burried in the ground…
  • Plant companion/sacrificial plants such Nasturtiums, marigolds
  • Plant distracting scented plants such as Borage, Dill, lemon grass….
  • Brambles!
  • Diatomaceous dirt (needs to be replaced after it’s rained)
  • Use planks of wood, leave them out overnight and in the morning look under them to remove the pests.

5. SEEDS

As long as you haven’t planted F1 (cross pollinated) Seeds or planted the seeds of veg or fruit bought from a shop (GM or F1) you can save your seeds. Ideally you want to grow from heirloom or heritage seeds (available online)

You will need to leave 10% of your fruit or vegetables to grow on and produce seeds if they haven’t already bolted (Spinach is a common veg that tends to bolt in hot weather) . Once the plant has gone to seed be careful collecting them as some species of plants can easily drop their seeds and some, like lettuce, are tiny (good luck finding them in the soil).

When you have harvested your seeds, usually by cutting the stem of the plant, place them in a paper bag and hang up until dry. Once dried out, the seeds should fall easily when shaken into the bag and easier to collect and place in small envelopes for next year.

So that’s our top 5 Vegetable Growing Tips, we hope you found it useful and get a bumper crop this year.

Just remember, use heritage or heirloom seeds where possible if you intend to save the seeds to grow from the next year, prepare your soil and don’t use chemicals and you’ll have some of the most delicious vegetables you’ll ever have tasted

Happy growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *