Many of us are rather fed up with the increasing cost of food shopping. These days, you won't get much change out of £100 to feed a family of three from a big-name supermarket. As a result, something of a revolution is taking place in our back gardens - literally!
More Brits are converting parts of their garden into places to grow fruit and vegetables. You might think that not much can grow in the UK due to the cold and wet climate. Believe it or not, there's an array of items that thrive in such weather.
The thing is; some of us aren't making efficient use of our outdoor spaces. As a result, we only end up with enough food that could provide just a week's worth of meals. If that paints a familiar portrait, it's time to rethink your strategy. Here's what you should consider doing (or avoiding):
Do grow lots of the things you'll eat often
It's worth sticking to the fruit and vegetables that you'll consume the most. You might think that it would be cool to grow something exotic or seldom seen in your area. But, if it's something you will rarely eat, the effort you put into growing it will be a waste of time.
Examples of the things you may wish to grow in abundance include:
- Salad leaves;
- Onions and garlic;
- Peas and beans.
Don't forget to test your soil
Yes, most plants need water and light to grow. But, one fundamental rule that catches a lot of folks out is soil testing. Is it necessary? In a word, yes. You need to maintain the right pH balance for the fruit and vegetables that you wish to grow.
The good news is soil testing won't cost you a fortune. You can buy cheap and simple to use kits from your local garden centre.
Do build a greenhouse
One of the annoyances of growing fruit and vegetables is seeing them get destroyed. Insects, slugs, you name it. They want your food more than you do!
A good way to bypass that problem is to build a greenhouse. You can buy them in packs that you assemble yourself. Or you could get one that gets installed for you by the supplier. There are variations of large greenhouses and small ones so you can choose one that fits your garden.
Greenhouses also offer the extra advantage of shelter against extreme weather conditions.
Don't forget to rotavate your soil before sowing any seeds
Looking down at the soil below you, it's easy to assume that it's in good condition. But, one common mistake gardeners make is to forget about rotavating or tilling it.
In a nutshell, rotavating is all about mixing the soil up so that it's loose. This makes it easy to provide the right nutrients for your seeds to grow and plants to flourish. Don't worry if the thought of rotavating your soil by hand makes you cringe. You can buy mechanical rotavators that do the hard work for you!
Good luck with your fruit and vegetable growing.