Veggie Garden - Build Your Own
Have you always loved the idea of building your own veggie garden but aren’t quite sure how to go about it? We’ve put together some tips on building the perfect garden for your needs as well as some of the most common veggies that you could choose to plant.
Preparing the Perfect Veggie Garden
The first thing that you need to do when building your veggie garden is to consider where it will go. You will need an area that gets lots of sun and does not have to compete with the root systems of large trees and shrubs for nutrients. Remember that it is a good idea to only make your garden twice as wide as the length of your arm so that you can easily reach everything that it contains. For positioning ideas see our photos of gardens. Once you have chosen the area, dig the soil over to the depth of a fork. After digging, add compost, organic matter and manure to ensure that the soil is rich and nutritious for the soon to be planted veggies. Add some plant tonic, soil conditioner and slow release fertilizer.
Now that this is all done, you are ready to plant your veggies! Follow the directions given with the seedlings or on the back of the seed packet, and remember to water them in well. Keep up the water for the first few weeks until the plants have established themselves and then go to a schedule of giving them a deep soak a couple of times a week rather than a superficial watering daily.
Maintenance wise, you will have to keep on top of weeds, as the weeds will compete for nutrients and potentially crowd your plants. Good mulch will help with weed prevention and also keep the water in the soil, where you want it. For more information see garden maintenance.
A “No Dig” Veggie Garden
If you don’t have time to prepare the soil correctly, then a no dig garden may be perfect for you. If your chosen site is over existing lawn, then you will need to mow the grass down as much as possible. If you have chosen a hard surface such as old paving, you will need to lay some cushioning organic material such as soil or straw.
To start your no dig garden, you should lay down a layer of newspaper approximately a quarter of an inch thick. Once you have done this, lay a border around your garden using bricks, wood, rocks or whatever other suitable material you may have to at least a height of eight to ten inches to contain the organic material and discourage weeds.
After building the border, put down a layer of Lucerne hay or other type of hay approximately 4 inches thick. On top of this, layer some good organic fertiliser or manure to a thickness of one inch. A six inch thick layer of loose straw should then be laid followed by another layer of fertilizer and then finished off with a four inch thick layer of compost.
Now that this is done, just water the garden thoroughly – but not to soaking wet. You can then start planting! Just remember to never walk on your no dig garden as you will compact the layers and this can cause problems later on.
Choosing Veggies for Your Garden
There are literally hundreds of different veggies and herbs that you could choose to grow in your garden, depending on your tastes and the time of year. You will be able to get more specific advice from a nursery but some common plants that thrive in just about any veggie garden include:
Companion Planting in the Veggie Garden
Companion planting is a practice used to help deter pests and encourage healthier plants in the veggie garden. Planting herbs in your veggie garden not only helps to control pests but you will also have ready access to herbs that can be used in your everyday cooking. Here are some herbs that you can plant in your garden:
Basil * enhances the taste of tomatoes and also helps to protect them from disease and insects
Garlic * repels aphids and controls cutworms and hornworms in tomatoes
Horseradish * planted near potatoes, horseradish controls potato bugs and encourages more disease-resistant potato tubers
Thyme * planted near cabbage, it deters cabbageworms and whitefly. Thyme also attracts bees to tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, where the bees will pollinate the plants and give you more fresh produce
Chives * help to prevent mildew, deter green flies, and repel aphids
Catnip * is good for controlling flea beetles
Marigolds * produce a root secretion that destroy root eating nematodes
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