Disclosure: this is a sponsored guest post
If you’re looking for a wonderfully fulfilling way to pass the time this year, why not grow your own food? Not only will it save you money at the supermarket but with companies like Ashridge Nurseries offering a wide range of bulbs, plants and trees you’ll be able to choose exactly what you want to produce. Planting seeds and watching them grow is also a fantastic way to teach children about the fragility of nature, so if you’re in the mood, here are five tips to get you started.
1. Choose the right spot
When it comes to growing your own food, it’s important to think carefully about the layout of your garden, as most consumable products grow best in a sheltered yet sunny area. Vegetables, for instance, thrive under these conditions, so make sure they are planted in a spot which gets maximum sunlight (or a minimum of between four to six hours).
If you live in a flat without much outdoor space or have limited garden beds, fear not as you can grow many types of plants in garden boxes, pots or grow bags – you just need to place these in sunny areas too.
2. Use plenty of compost
In order to grow mouth-watering delights, you must make sure the soil you use is in tip-top condition. Mixing potting soil with native soil and adding a decent amount of compost will ensure your produce has all the necessary nutrients to grow properly and as vegetables like soil to have a neutral pH. It might also be worth investing in a pH testing kit to ensure your growing conditions are as good as possible.
Fancy making your own compost? Then check-out the how-to guides online and discover what household products can be thrown onto a household compost heap including eggshells, leaves, grass cuttings and garden weeds.
3. Choose the right time to plant
Growing your own food can be an undeniably exciting process, but always wait until the last frost has passed (usually around April) before sowing any seeds. If the soil is too cold, germination will slow down and many young, vulnerable plants might even die.
Of course, if your green fingers are twitching and you just can’t wait to get out in the fresh air to start work out in your garden, you could always prepare the soil as mentioned above and do a general post-winter clean-up to ensure everything is looking good for the warmer months.
4. Think about spacing
If plants, fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and flowers are planted too close together they will compete with each other for nutrients and have limited space to root and grow. This means they might not be as healthy as they should be, so be sure to read proper plant spacing instructions on the back of seed packs to avoid overcrowding. Similarly, don’t plant tall produce like apple trees next to smaller vegetables like cabbages as the branches will shade the cabbage patch, preventing them from receiving the sunlight they really need.
5. Water your produce regularly
It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to keep your produce well hydrated. Most vegetables require at least one inch of water per week, so it’s important not to let the soil dry out especially if you’re growing things like cucumbers, cauliflower, celery, lettuce and spinach as these easily need around two gallons of water per week. Keep an eye on rain levels and there’s a dry spell use a watering can or hosepipe to water your plants.
Growing your own food is great for the environment and your bank balance, so follow the above tips and do something productive this year!