Gardening is a favourite activity for many, young and old. It’s a well-known stress buster, a great work out and it can even save you money if you decide to grow your own produce in your back garden. And growing fruit and veg in the garden is becoming more and more popular as the years go on. We’re being told to be increasingly aware about our carbon footprints and about the well-being of the environment and our planet. And one fool proof way we can definitely lower our footprints is to create an edible garden – and why shouldn’t we? After all, it’s great for the environment, great fun for the kids and healthy for your diet too!
As good as an edible garden sounds, many people are put off creating one, as they have a lack of knowledge on where to start, or do not have the time or patience to see the project through.
This easy step by step guide will eliminate all of the problems, and will hopefully get you on your way to creating the perfect edible garden.
Where to start:
Find the perfect location
Firstly, you need to find an area to grow in. Even though a small area is fine to start off with, as you expand and want to grow your edible garden even more, you’ll need a slighter larger space –so bear this in mind!
On each seed packet you buy, will be information on spacing – this will let you know how much space that particular fruit or vegetable needs to grow. This is another thing to bear in mind when you pick your growing area.
Of course, positioning your edible garden in sunlight is crucial. Most edible plants require around 6 to 8 hours (minimum) a day of sunlight, so position your site accordingly.
Where can you plant?
Directly in to the ground: This is where you plant your seeds directly into the soil in your garden.
If you have good quality soil, you can plant your seeds directly into the ground and this is great, because you will be provided with natural nutrients that will help your plants grow.
In to Containers: If you have bad quality soil (or no soil at all!) you can buy soil and plant directly into containers. You can find different sized and shaped containers at nurseries and home improvement stores. (Read the Prepare the soil section to find out if your soil is of good enough quality to plant into!)
Note: Not every type of seed can be planted into containers – check the back of the packet to see if the seeds can be planted in containers first!
In to Raised Flowerbed: For gardeners who have back pain or pain when bending over, raised flower beds are the perfect option! What’s more, they can create a beautiful focal point in your garden!
Fill in these beds as you would your garden – with good soil enriched with compost.
Gather all of the tools you’ll need…
You’ll definitely need…
- A trowel – you’ll need this for digging small holes and for weeding
- Gardening gloves – because you don’t want to get dirty or hurt your hands on any prickly plants!
- Watering Can/Hose – You’ll definitely need to water your garden (especially over the warm summer months!)
You may also want to consider…
- A wheelbarrow – if you have a large garden and need to transport any mulch, compost or dirt
- Sun hat – if it is warm and sunny you’ll need to protect yourself from the sun
Prepare your soil
It is important to check the quality of your soil, prior to planting. Poor quality soil can be disastrous, even for the best gardeners.
Good quality soil will be:
- Free of obstruction from stones and sand.
- Well aerated (Air should circulate freely through the soil)
- Rich in compost
Decide what you’d like to grow
The next stage is to decide what you’d actually like to grow in your back garden. It’s important to think about practicality here – you don’t want to grow a large fruit or vegetable if you have only allocated a small area in your garden.
You will also want to grow something that will appeal to yours and your family’s diets. There’s no point in growing something you will not eat!
Certain seeds will be ready to plant directly into soil, whereas some may need to be started off inside, and then transported outside into soil at a later date. Read the instructions on the packets to determine what to do with your seeds.
Follow each packet’s instructions and maintain your edible garden
Each packet will also have further instructions on things like planting depth and watering – as every seed is different, pay close attention when reading the guides!
Remember your garden is not an allotment!
Your garden should be an extension of your home and not an allotment!
While it is great to grow in your garden, if you want to grow a lot, maybe think about applying for an allotment, so your garden can still be your garden (and not somewhere that you can barely walk around!)
One last word: When purchasing your seeds, know that they will eventually pay for themselves, considering the amount they will produce, and the amount you will save buying fruit and veg from a supermarket!
Click here to find your local Haskins garden centre.