How To Create a Vegetable Patch?
What’s more wholesome than being able to grow and harvest vegetables in your very own back garden? If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of a vegetable patch, then read on and find out how to prepare your vegetable patch and when to grow and harvest, to ensure the freshest of produce.
The benefits of growing your own vegetables
- Lowers your carbon footprint
- Cheaper than buying them in the shops
- Helps to relieve stress
- Encourage outdoor exercise
- Helps you to make the most of your garden
Choosing the right location for your vegetable patch
Take a walk around your garden and work out where’s best to create your vegetable patch. You’ll want to choose a location that’ll get enough sun – so avoid locations where there will be shade from trees, sheds or other shade-throwing structures – and an area where your more delicate plants, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, have shelter from the wind.
If it’s hard to find the best of both worlds, put up some small fencing panels, as this will allow the sun in and onto your crops and will offer a wind-breaker, keeping roots well-anchored and free from windburn. Alternatively, use hay bales, a cheap option that’ll step in as a windbreaker and can be removed as summer starts to creep in. A wind-breaker, albeit fencing panels or hay bales, will shelter an area around five times its own height, which means a three-metre hurdle can protect your crops for 15 metres.
Clearing and preparing the ground for your vegetable patch
Start by sectioning out the square or rectangle patch you’re going to use, remove all weeds from the root in this area, including buttercups, clover and bindweeds. If there are loads of weeds do not be tempted to use weed killer, instead, place an old carpet or black impermeable membrane over your future vegetable patch area and leave until the weeds turn yellow and die.
Wait another 1-2 weeks and then cut the layer of grass away from the patch, place in your compost and turn the earth over using a pitchfork. Leave any big lumps of earth and allow winter to break them down. When turning the soil, look out for seeds and use a small hoe to remove. Once you’ve cleared the ground, leave your vegetable patch and come back to it once the frost and cold weather has broken down the lumpy soil naturally.
Come spring, the soil in your vegetable patch should be fine but if you have clay it may take longer to see this. Clay soil retains water for much longer, and so, you need a little more patience whilst you wait for the ground to be ready for growing your crops. Don’t worry though, once your clay soil is ready, it’ll provide a nice fertile and nutritious bed for your vegetables.
Plan your vegetable garden
Most vegetable patches will include multiple types of vegetables, so you’ll want to separate your patch into areas to help you to distinguish one from the other. You can partition them off using planks of wood – just check under them every now and then to make sure they’re slug-free.
Think about what vegetables you want to plant and know when to plant them – here are some examples:
- Potatoes – buy seeds in Jan/Feb and place somewhere light and cool – this will help them to produce small shoots. Plant these into your vegetable garden patch in April and harvest in July.
- Carrots – sow in April and harvest in June.
- Beetroot – sow in April and harvest in June.
- Lettuces – for a continuous harvest, sow once a month and cover to protect.
Not sure what to do with the rest of your garden? Contact your local experts at R&J Landscapes who can provide you with inspiration plus a number of expert services. We operate throughout Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex/NW London and the surrounding areas.