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Getting Started Growing Veg

Updated: Jan 30

It's that time of year again, where all us veg growers are starting to finalise plans for this year's plot. This winter, I've been having lots of fun working on a new course where I'm simplifying this process of getting organised, so that anyone new to gardening can set themselves up with a failsafe plan for their growing year. I'm trying to keep it simple, so there's lots of advice I'm holding back for future courses - keep an eye out for that! Right now though, while I have it all in mind, I'd love to share with you my absolute top tips for growing a successful vegetable garden.


1. PLAN FOR A LONG SEASON

Get organised in advance, with a seed sowing schedule. Get a free version of my own sowing schedule by clicking here. Plan for big batches of staples that are harvested once a year, such as potatoes, onions, garlic and tomatoes. Plan for little batches of crops that can be grown many times over the course of the year, such as carrots, lettuce, beetroot and cabbage.


Sow little batches of repeat crops like cabbage, but sow 2-3 times a year for a longer harvesting season

2. Seed Sowing Success

Get a head start by sowing early veg in seed trays on a window sill or in a greenhouse. Save time by growing later veg straight into beds. Don’t forget to use slug protection, such as a ring of horticultural sharp sand or prickly bramble clippings all around your seedlings. Always sow more than you need to allow for seed failures or slug attacks!


seedlings
Sow seeds outside once the weather turns mild enough to save time pricking out and hardening off baby veg

3. Working with Weeds

Pass a hoe over your beds once a fortnight to keep down weed seedlings. Make compost with weeds, veg tops and stems. Dispose carefully of seedy weeds and those with thick, fleshy roots. These are best dealt with in your municipal waste collection to avoid increasing

the next generation of weeds when you use your compost on your beds.


composts bays made from pallets
Harvest your weeds and use them to make fantastic, home made compost

4. Marvelous Microbes

Protect soil microbes for nutritionally enhanced crops, drought protection and pest resilience. Get mulching, with a yearly two inch layer of compost or well rotted manure. A four-six inch layer of straw around larger vegetables will maximise protection during the heat of summer. Grow green manure in empty beds to keep your microbe helpers well fed and ready for action at veg growing time.


phacelia in flower
Phacelia is a popular summer green manure plant, that is also great for bees

5. Gardening Buddies

Growing with friends is so much more enjoyable than going it alone. Find a little gang of gardening buddies that you can share your highs and lows with (hopefully more of the highs!). Allotments are great places to pick up tips and try out new techniques. Online communities can also be a great source of gardening support and friendship.


Join Nancy's 'Happy Veggies Club' facebook group for seasonal top tips and a place to share your growing adventure!


community gardeners picking their harvest
Growing together is always more fun!

Well it's nearly February now, so it won't be long to wait to get started with those first seedlings. Can't wait! If you plan to grow vegetables this year, I wish you every success!



For help getting organised for the year ahead, don't forget to check out my course 'Planning the Vegetable Garden, including everything you need to know to set up an allotment plot or home vegetable garden.


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