Beginners Vegetable Garden
Easy peasy guide on what to grow in your vegetable garden
If like me, you glance at anything green and it immediately dies then you may wholeheartedly believe that you are a serial plant killer. However, you really don’t need a green thumb in order to grow beautifully lush gardens filled with nutrient-dense vegetables bursting with vibrant colour. You just need some guidance and a collection of hardy vegetables that will stand up to your novice ways.
Make it a fun family activity and get the kids involved. They’ll love getting their hands dirty as they prepare the ground with planting soil, placing the seeds, covering them up and watering each section. It’s a fun activity that helps grow their minds, and your green fingers.
An easy-to-grow salad green that takes up a little space and is an excellent basis for a healthy salad. Grow it in a container if you like, and by seeding every two weeks, you can consistently have a conveyer belt of delicious lettuce coming your way. Plant a variety of butter lettuce, rocket leaves and iceberg lettuce; the great thing is that you don’t have to dig it up; just cut off what you require for a dish as and when you need it. Always ensure the soil remains a little moist as this helps the lettuce retain its freshness and crispiness.
A root vegetable that is extremely hardy and is best planted in springtime. These take about 3 to 5 weeks to show “fruit”, after which you can harvest their tops, much like the lettuce, and leave the rest to grow. To plant carrots, make sure you remove all stones from the ground because you want them to grow long. Any kind of obstacle will stunt a root vegetable’s growth. Plant the seeds about 10cm apart to ensure enough space for them to grow wide, and make sure they get a little bit of shade.
You can choose between the vine or bush-type green bean, which comes in 25 different bean varieties. However, string beans, sugar snaps and green beans are the preferred choices for novice gardeners. If your garden space is limited then the bush-type is considered the best option. This vegetable enjoys full sun and a moist but well-drained soil environment.
Cucumbers are a great addition to any vegetable garden, but they take over so make sure you give them space to stretch out. You get a variety of cucumbers that you can grow, but a firm favourite with vegetable-farming enthusiasts are Straight Eight and Diva, which are fresh and crispy with every bite. Plant them in a rich compost mixed with organic fertiliser, which needs to be sufficiently saturated before planting begins. Don’t plant before winter because the cold causes bits of frost that will kill your cucumbers and turn them into mush inside.
These little red beauties love loads of sun and not too much water. It’s always so satisfying to see your first tomato sprouting from your starter tomato plant, which you can pick up at any nursery. It’s the easiest way to start the process, however, you can pick up the seeds and start from scratch if you prefer. With the right fertiliser, you will end up with rich, juicy tomatoes filled with goodness and minus all the growth chemicals.
Vegetable gardens are so much fun to create, and even more fun to harvest thanks to that satisfying feeling of creating your first meal from your own garden.
So, get the kids, put the dogs away (because they’ll eat every infant vegetable), and get stuck in with fertiliser, seeds and watering. Once you get it right the first time, you’ll be hooked.