Growing vegetables is both a pleasurable pastime and a guaranteed method of providing tasty, nutritious food to you and your family. It is also a great way to save money on your shopping bills. But for vegetable growing to be effective, it is important to know what to plant and when to plant it. That’s why I’ve put together the ultimate vegetable planting calendar, which will tell you what you need to know when starting your own vegetable patch.
The vegetable planner is an amazing reference piece for those who want to grow their own produce. I will also be revealing my top vegetable of the month throughout 2019, which you can use as inspiration for filling plots with delicious crops.
Being organised when deciding to grow your own vegetables is important, as you can easily miss a growing season or plant too much at the wrong time. Use the vegetable planting calendar to grips with what to put into the ground each month.
It’s easy to get excited and buy too many seeds, but bear in mind that you may only have a small amount of space to grow and crops that are competing for space will not develop as well.
If space is an issue, then opt for dwarf varieties, or consider planting into containers.
Other crops may take longer than others to grow and it is worth keeping a growing journal and marking the spot on which they were planted. This way you can keep track of their progress and you don’t accidently bury them under a pile of manure!
Again, the planting calendar is your greatest tool, as it will tell you the length of time between planting and harvesting of each vegetable.
The first thing to do when getting organised is to prepare your plot for the vegetable you intend to grow. Most seed packets will contain instructions on what type of soil should be used.
You may need to improve the soil you have before planting and this usually involves digging in an organic matter such as compost, manure, leaf mould or soil conditioner.
Try to avoid planting crops close to large trees and shrubs, as these can force your crops to compete for water, nutrients and sunlight.
Choosing your crops
Making the right choice when it comes to growing vegetables can save you time, money and effort. Most vegetables require a sunny position to grow in and if you have a heavily shaded garden, you may need to consider crops that will thrive in these conditions. Peas, spinach and radicchio are good choices for shade. Other crops may grow but will not reach their full potential.
Another helpful tip is to choose seasonal vegetables, for example, pumpkins in time for autumn and brussels sprouts in time for Christmas.
It may also be worth growing crops that are more expensive in the shops—this way you can save money on your food shop.
The most important factor when choosing crops to grow is to go for vegetables that you are actually going to eat. Otherwise the time and toil you put into the growing process will be fruitless.
Finally, remember to choose vegetables that you are going to have time to grow. Someone who has little time to spare for growing should opt for low-maintenance vegetables such as asparagus, while someone with plenty of time on their hands can focus on a more intensive crops like tomatoes. Planting too many crops will increase the workload, so stick with what you can manage.