Have you ever had a yearning to grow your own? There are few activities more rewarding than getting in touch with your inner farmer and nurturing plants from seed to crop. It’s not always easy or desirable to get your hands on an allotment, so perhaps you could start with your own garden.
Plan the Plot
Once you have agreed with your family on the space you would like to take over, decide how you will lay it out. It is best to have a group of small patches so that you can learn from your medieval ancestors and practice healthy crop rotation. There are different schemes of rotation you can use and with four patches you can leave each one fallow every fourth year.
Keep each patch narrow, so that you can reach the center from both sides without having to step on the soil. About 4 feet usually suffices.
Vegetables need to absorb a lot of energy to produce nutritious food. Make sure that your plot receives a generous amount of sunshine during the growing months.
Choose your crops for the first growing season. Aim for produce that is reliable, easy to grow, and expensive in the supermarket. New potatoes, peas, beans, courgettes, lettuce, and carrots make a good start.
Buy the Equipment
Like it or not, you are going to have to get hold of some tools. You will, at least, need the following:
- Hand fork
If you need to shift a lot of earth to get started, a shovel will come in handy and you could try this site for a good multi-purpose one.
Prepare the Ground
The more time you can give yourself to prepare the ground, the easier your work will be. In an ideal world, your plot will be free of nasty perennial weeds. Pull up any annual weeds before they can seed. Then lift the turf and stack it beside your plot. Turn over the soil with a fork, burying the turf as you go. Or leave the turf to break down into nice soil over the winter and spread it on the top.
If there are perennial weeds you can kill them with chemicals, but a better approach is to cover them with old carpet or weed-suppressing membrane, which will cut off all light and kill them over the course of a season. Then turn the soil at the end of the year and let the frost break it down.
Virgin soil should be fairly productive for the first year, but if it doesn’t look dark and crumbly consider buying some well-rotted manure to dig in.
The Good Life
Growing your own vegetables is both satisfying and frustrating. It can seem like a constant battle against weeds, pests, and weather. But when the food is on the table there is nothing more delicious than vegetables you have grown on your own land by the sweat of your own brow.