One way to lower your carbon footprint and reduce food wastage is to grow your own. Yep, the fruit and veg that you buy from the supermarket are just as easy to grow at home. With a thriving vegetable patch, there is no need to spend money on apples, bananas and whatever else you like to eat. The trick is to start a patch from scratch and let Mother Nature do the rest.
What’s that? Don't you have the first clue where to begin? Okay, that might be a problem!
The truth is that a humble vegetable garden seems like a piece of naturally baked cake yet is incredibly difficult. From building it in the first place to getting the seeds to take, there’s a lot on a newbie’s plate. The good news is that Better Farm is here to help. Without further ado, these are the steps to follow to build a veg garden from the ground upwards. How healthy and exciting!
Pick A Plot
Don’t dig up the first piece of land which catches your eye. For fruits and veg to grow, the plot needs to have a variety of ingredients. Did you know that some areas of a garden have more nutrients than others? Or that land that is closer to a fence is more likely to result in death? Some areas of soil get better exposure to the elements, which make the ripe, while weeds grow around barriers. The garden patch needs plenty of sun, water and natural nutrients from the soil, so you will want to check the PH level before digging. Also, plants need space to grow, and that is why plots shouldn’t be oversaturated with the competition. If need be, remove any plants and flowers that get in the way to make room for fruits and veg.
Decide On Strategy
Usually, a vegetable garden takes one form: a patch in the corner. But, you can also build a greenhouse and grow exotic and hard-to-cultivate plants. Remember that each has pros and cons, and you can find out more by following the link. The essential thing to keep in mind is that you have to come to a quick decision. Building a greenhouse takes time, effort and money, and it’s better to start sooner rather than later. Even a vegetable patch requires resources which you might not consider until too late. In some cases, farmers and homeowners use an earthmoving company to turn over the soil. Depending on the size of the plot, it might be easier to hire a team of professionals rather than digging alone.
Change The PH Level
Dirt has a natural acidity or alkalinity and it’s vital to the process. Typically, vegetables grow best when the soil is neutral and not too acidic or alkaline. The ground won’t give you any ideas by standing over it and checking out the color. To understand the PH balance, you have to take a sample and run a routine test. It isn’t hard as all you need is a cup of dirt, vinegar and baking soda. Simply split the sample in half and add vinegar to one and baking soda to another. If the sample with vinegar fizzes, the ground is alkaline. If the baking soda bubbles, it’s acidic. Changing the balance is possible with the right ingredients. Alkaline soil needs organic ingredients such as pine needles and peat moss. Adding sulfur is an option for ground that has a rating of one or two on the PH scale.
Once the seeds like to grow, pests will be a huge problem. They might not be a swarm of locusts, but they will eat away at the flowers in the same vein. Dealing with bugs is difficult because you don’t want to add pesticides and taint the process. Let’s face it – the idea of eating poison fruit isn’t appealing. The only option is to solve the problem organically, and you can start with mixed planting. How it works is simple. All a gardener has to do is mix up plants to confuse the insects. Big colonies of flowers attract pests in their thousands but bugs find it harder to deal with gaps in the garden. Another neat trick is to plant companion plants that attract predators. Chives and dill are two crops that attract ladybugs which eat common garden pests. Last but not least, there’s garlic. Bulbs don’t lure in predators but they do smell strong and overpower insects.
Now that the weather is still hit and miss, plants will need protection from the elements. Companion planting can be helpful but it also has its negatives. For one thing, it takes time to grow them tall enough to provide shade and protection. A much quicker and efficient option is to build a wall or a man made shelter. That way, the rain and wind should hit the blocker rather than the fragile leaves of the vegetables. There are things to consider, such as blocking the sun. Tomatoes, for example, need lots of heat which is why they should face the burning ball in the sky. A south-facing wall should help protect against the bad weather while leaving enough space to soak up the sun’s UV rays.
Part of growing fruit and veg is going out into the garden in all conditions and maintaining your patch. Of course, you want to do it as little as possible because, well, you’re lazy! Don’t be offended as the majority of homeowners feel the same way. So, instead of trudging alone over the winter and spring, you can make the plot more accessible. Simply grow the fruits and veg that you regularly use closest to the back door. That way, you can easily pop out, pick the ripe plants, and get back inside as quickly as possible. Plus, it gives you a better vantage point and helps fight against pests such as slugs.
A veg patch from scratch is a lot of hard work, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted. Are you ready to lower CO2 emissions and your grocery bill?