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Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

Author : Mark Bartley

Great tasting vegetables, conveniently available right outside your door, grown organically and costing very little, the benefits of growing your own vegetables are certainly attractive. Many people have learned how to cultivate vegetables from their parents or grandparents, from following TV programmes or reading books and magazines and the popularity of the activity can be seen by the demand for allotments all across the country. Previously when people earned less and food less readily available, most people would have at least a small vegetable patch in their garden. Now that food costs are on the increase again, more and more people are returning to growing their own.

As with any natural product, things are always uncertain and outcomes differ each time. The cultivation of vegetables is influenced by all kinds of factors. Weather has a large part to play with moisture levels and light both influencing the healthy growth of vegetables. Nutrition for plants is also key because all living things need fuel to survive and flourish and of course pest and disease can cause problems too.

In order to increase crops and minimise any issues with your first vegetable crop it pays to plan your growing season carefully from the outset and attempt, where you can, to control the factors that are important to success.

For many vegetables it is possible to grow them perfectly well from seed and this is certainly the most cost effective option, if you able to achieve a reasonable success rate. Most seed varieties can be kept for around 2 years (except parsnips) with some like cauliflower and courgette able to remain viable in their seed packets for 4 or 5 years. Deciding which seed varieties to use can be overwhelming as there are so many options. Using a well known supplier and selecting a type that is well suited for your own growing environment will help you focus on some solid selections.

There are two main alternatives to growing from seed. Firstly potatoes, which are grown from seed potatoes that are stored upright from mid-February onwards for about a month to allow them to sprout. Seed potatoes are available in most garden centres, from online suppliers or at one of the many potato days or fairs held during January, February and March up and down the country. The other option for vegetables such as beetroot, Brussels sprouts and leeks is to purchase a plug plant. These are small plants that have already been grown from seed by a professional nursery. They are great if you don't have the time to sow from seed yourself, or you have already missed the ideal sowing period. Several companies provide plug plants in mixed combinations to give you a good selection of vegetable types to try out.

Once you have your seedlings or plug plants outside in your vegetable plot the next challenge is to control the factors that will prevent the young plants from growing into healthy delicious crops over the coming months. In the early part of the year the weather is most likely thing to affect your crops. In the UK an overnight frost can arrive almost unexpectedly right up to May, so keep a sheet of horticultural fleece or other suitable material to insulate the plants if a potential frost is forecast. Heavy rain or thunderstorm can also damage a plot of young plants so afford your plot any protection you can if a storm is forecast. Most plants that are knocked down by rain quickly recover, but don't worry too much as they are able to continue growing as long as their roots are not exposed and you keep off the wet soil while it dries out a little.

Finally, as the growing season progresses, your plants may be susceptible to disease or pest damage. There are various manual ways of preventing the common issues such as covering carrot seeds with fleece, secured at the edges by soil, to prevent the intrusion of carrot fly and putting up some slug defences if you are growing lettuces, cabbages, beans and many other vegetables. Not all slugs are out to eat your vegetables but those that are will need to be stopped from getting to your plants if you are to keep your crop for yourself. All kinds of slug protection methods have been proposed, so if the one you try first is not effective, just try one of the others.

With a little luck and some simple effort you will enjoy your first attempt to you're your own because the satisfaction of eating your home grown vegetables is very satisfying and very tasty too. Remember not to let a few failures or mishaps put you off from keeping going. Keep trying and as you gain more experience your success rate will soon increase and before long you'll wonder why you held off so long from creating your home grown vegetable plot.

Author's Resource Box

The chance to grow your own vegetables is something many can take advantage of. Mike is an enthusiastic gardener and vegetable grower and offers some tips to those just beginning.

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Tags:   gardening, vegetables, grow your own

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Submitted : 2011-04-03    Word Count : 920    Times Viewed: 638