How to grow and maintain your own vegetable garden
By Mel Eden, garden tools and equipment expert
With more people than ever taking an interest in where their food is coming from, what better way to have confidence in what you're eating than by growing your own? I love eating food that's come from my own garden and it's easy for you to get involved with growing your own produce as well.
Use the right tools and approach and you don't even need to have a huge plot of land to make a success out of this. But if you're wondering where to start, our guide to the basics of growing and maintaining a vegetable garden should give you all the pointers you need.
Choose your spot
Deciding where to place your vegetables is the first key decision to make. You need a spot that will get a good amount of sunlight, but this doesn't mean digging up large parts of your garden.
A great option for space-constricted locations is a raised planter, such as MySmartBuy.com's Rattan-Effect Raised Planter. This comes with a built-in watering system and can be used on a patio, balcony or even in a conservatory.
The right soil
As well as watering your veg regularly, you need to make sure you give them the right nutrients to grow. Invest in good-quality fertilizer for your soil - or make your own with a home composting solution - and you'll be well on the way.
You can also pick up simple test kits that can tell you about the quality of the soil in your garden - such as its pH level - that will let you know what materials you need to add to get the perfect balance. a pH level of around 7 is neither too acidic or too alkaline, you you should aim to get as close to this as possible.
Choosing the right plants
Only the most ambitious gardener might feel comfortable planting a wide range of products to start, so for beginners, choosing your produce carefully is essential. I've found items such as lettuces, tomatoes and beans are among the easiest items to grow - and have a wide range of uses around the kitchen when they're ready to eat.
Maintain your plot
Once you've got your seeds planted, don't forget to monitor their progress on a regular basis. As well as providing water, you'll need to keep an eye out for weeds and remove them quickly before they take a hold. Purchase a quality set of garden tools and you can make these tasks much less arduous and ensure the best results when you come to harvest your food.