Vegetable Gardening Tips

Grow your own vegetablesA Beginners guide – Choosing vegetable varieties to grow

There are lists of recommended varieties of every vegetable that can be grown but if you really want to know which is best and will grow easily in your garden or which tomato has the best flavour you will need to tap into the experience of local vegetable gardeners and growers.
If you can, find a vegetable gardening mentor, someone that has plenty of experience of gardening and growing vegetables in your area.

If you are just starting out in vegetable growing, only grow crops that do not require a lot of expertise. As you become more experienced and your confidence grows, try the more challenging vegetable crops.

Decide which crops you would LIKE to grow, then ask around for the best varieties to grow in your area.
This is called Crop selection – How do you decide?
If you have kids, involve them, get everyone concerned making a list of the vegetables that they would like to eat. Ask other members in the family also.

Read up about the growing needs of your crop selections before finally deciding on your choice.
Next, armed with your chosen crop list, once again tap into the experience of your local gardeners and growers.
You may love the thought of growing chillies but if your garden is primarily in the shade, then an experienced gardener will tell you that your plant choice will not grow well in your garden, not sunny enough.

The valuable research and quest for knowledge from experienced gardeners can be both time saving in the long run and educational.

OK, you have your list, you have acquired the knowledge to start growing, now you need to think about how much time you have to spend in the garden.
Some crops are more time consuming maintenance wise than others.
As an example, Carrots are relatively easy to grow, you sow them, then thin them out, water and weed then pull and eat but let them dry out at a crucial early stage and they are likely to become ‘woody’.
On the other hand, potatoes require more physical work both in preparation and later on, they need shoring up and can be prone to more disease and pest issues than some other vegetables.
Tomatoes, require staking, pinching out and copious amounts of water. Again, your more experienced garden mentor can help you identify the high maintenance and more difficult crops and also point out the critical growing periods and indicators.

Last of all, consider both the size of your garden and your pocket.
When searching through the seed catalogues it is very easy to select far more than you can grow AND eat.
Plan wisely, not only thinking about the space you have but also the time you can devote and also consider the end product, can you really eat all those radishes?

If your space is limited, perhaps corn, melons or pumpkins are not such a good idea, they take up a lot of room and are relatively cheap to buy when readily available at harvest time. You could consider growing in partnership with a neighbour or neighbours, this often works out very well, especially if space is limited.
Growing in partnership with a neighbour, if planned well, also avoids all the wasted surpluses that often occur.

Essential list of grow your own vegetables
Here is a list of vegetable crops that offer a reasonable return in terms of money saved compared to shop prices, ease of growing and space required.

  • Tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Lettuce
  • Turnips
  • Peas
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Runner Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers and Chillies
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard

Vegetable Gardening is well worth any effort that may be required.