With Spring just around the corner this is often the time of year that people start thinking about having a go at growing veg for the very first time. If this is you here are some tips that I would give to the first time veg grower to help you get started.
- Love your soil - The more attention that you lavish on your soil at this time of year, the better, bigger, healthier, tastier plants you will be rewarded with later on. Now is the perfect time to get hold of a load of well rotted manure or compost and get it onto your beds ready for when you start planting.
- Make space for wildlife - A plot that is a haven for wildlife will also be a great place to grow things. Make room for toads who'll eat slugs, bees who will pollinate your crops, hover flies who will eat aphids, and any other little friends that will help to make your plot a happy and balanced place for growing.
- Grow things that you like eating - Sounds obvious, but if you don't like something don't spend time and effort growing it. Pick the things that you really love eating and that are hard to buy in the shops and concentrate your energy on growing them. A couple of my favourites are sweetcorn, tomatoes and broad beans which really can't be beaten when picked and cooked fresh.
- Start small - this is a particular problem for people with a big plot of land to work. If you can't cultivate it all in your first year don't worry! The most important thing is to get a little area going and make sure that you grow at least one thing that you want to eat. Then the taste of success will be a great motivator to get going on bigger things in future seasons.
- Keep on top of weeding - weeding can be a bore but it can also be a great job to empty your mind of worries or stresses after a long day at work. The best way to tackle it is to do it little and often so that you are always one step ahead of the weeds and they don't get too invasive.
- Enjoy yourself - cultivating any vegetable plot can be hard work but it is also great fun so make sure that you find plenty of time to enjoy yourself and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Buy a deckchair and make sure you use it!