Planning Your Vegetable Garden

This is a guest post written by Tim from Yard and Garden Guru.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

There is no right way or wrong way when it comes to having a vegetable garden, although things have to be done a sure way to help your plants prosper. Vegetable gardening for beginners can be as natural as you want to make it, yet it is advisable to ease yourself into rather than becoming overwhelmed.

Your area will detect how large a veg garden you have, yet lack of size is no excuse not to give vegetable gardening a go. If you plan it right, you can have an abundance of crops even in the smallest of places. Regardless of the area and how you grow your vegetables, there are a few things that you will have to adhere to.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Location

As you will be deciding where to have your vegetable garden, it should be noted that vegetables require 6-8 hours of sun per day. To make sure they can achieve this, you choose the sunniest parts of your garden and make sure your rows face east to west. Leafy green vegetables require a little less and are not keen on the harsh sun so these can go in your not so sunny areas.

It is also advisable to have direct access to your garden from your home, this way you will see when it needs tending to.

Size is Important

The ideal space allocation you are looking for is 16 feet X 10 feet. As your rows will face east to west, this means the longest edge of the bed will face north and south. If you are limited for a space of this size, you can scale it down or use raised beds. The critical thing to remember is that your rows are 18 inches apart.

Raised beds, on the other hand, should be 8 feet by 4 feet, and the depth of the bed should be 10 – 12 inches.

Soil Preparation

This process will be mainly for direct planting into the earth rather than a raised bed. However, it doesn’t hurt to add some organic material as this is full of rich nutrients that will only help your vegetables.

The first stage is to remove all weeds and then turn your soil. Regular soil should have a pH of around 7. If you find your ground is below this, a good inch to 2 inches of organic material can be added. Once done you should water thoroughly and leave for 2 days before commencing.

Planting

Once you have your prepared patch, you can think about planting your seeds. Some gardeners germinate their seeds indoors and transplant, although a plant will be hardier if they are directly sown.

Growing distances are explained on the packs of seeds. You also have climbing vegetables which have to be considered. These often go on the back of your patch to catch the most sun. 

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Raised Beds

When you plan on having a vegetable garden, you always read that you should start small. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using raised beds. They might appear to require a lot more work with construction etc… Yet they do bring many benefits when compared to growing directly into your garden patch.

A few of the benefits of raised beds are as follows:

Easier to Manage – raised beds are ideal for smaller areas.

Soil Protection – as the soil is confined in the surround, it will remain soft and will allow roots to spread much more comfortable over time.

Extended Growing Season – a raised bed will warm up quicker than the ground. Irrigation is also conducted easier due to the softer soil.

Maintenance – Apart from the surround, as many are made from wood. You will have less digging and weeding to carry out through the growing season or during the growing season.

Irrigation – as the soil is much softer, the land can drain easier, and in some areas of the country, you can grow vegetables that would not otherwise grow.

Soil Preparation – Many areas have earth which is not ideal, and it requires a lot of organic material to get the pH correct. Raised beds use good quality topsoil which already has the perfect pH levels. Raised beds also make it easier to control mulch and fertilizer as the areas are defined.

Access – if you have a regular vegetable patch, you will have to define pathways. With raised beds, these paths are automatically determined by the beds themselves. They also make it easier for individuals who are unable to bend or are wheelchair bound to access their vegetables.

A healthy high yielding vegetable garden requires only a few things. Plenty of sun, adequate watering, good soil and some tender loving care. If you have all these things, you can learn the rest as you go along.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Author Bio

Tim Graham writes at the yardandgardenguru.com, and you can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

The Secret is in the Soil: The Importance Of Healthy Soil

We don’t give much thought to the soil under our feet but without it, we wouldn’t have food on our plates. It takes a lifetime to create the ideal soil conditions for plants and crops to grow, but no time at all to destroy it. For every plant to thrive, it needs nutrients. And these are found in the soil. With the right nutrients in perfect balance, a plant or tree thrives.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Planet

So how is Soil Made? And why do we need to keep adding organic matter and other nutrients to get the best from it? Does it mystify you as to why soil in one part of the garden is fine and dust-like but in another part, heavy and dense?

The soil is made from the earth’s crusts and its deposits being ground to a finer powder over thousands of years. The type of soil created, depends on the deposits that created it. The quality of soil also depends on how much life is in the soil. Worms, for example, are essential to mixing the soil as well as aerating it. Other soil-borne life forms are important too. Soil needs plenty of nutrients and water to offer the best growing medium, an increasing problem in a world with an increasing number of mouths to feed.

Do you know how to look after soil?

From adding organic matter to understanding the type of soil and what will grow best, this infographic has it all. Find out more and truly understand the ground beneath your feet. 

soil, healthy soil, nutrients, healthy planet, soil health, garden, gardening, growing, grow your own, green living, our world, #livinglifewild, environment, rattan direct, infographic

*Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with Rattan Direct. 

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 3: If You Won The Lottery, You Would?

Interesting question, as I have genuinely not really thought about it! Of course it crosses my mind sometimes (often!) “ooh if I had the money I would go here, or do that” type of thing but never really thought about it more deeply than that. So after some thinking here is what I came up with…

If it was a small win, it would go towards paying our bills!

Medium win- As above but also I would take Squiggle on a short holiday somewhere.

Big win- hmmm, now it gets harder. I guess it would depend how much exactly because various things spring to mind and I’m not sure what would be the priority. On the one hand, it would be nice to own our home, and we would love some land to grow more food etc… But on the otherhand, I would also love to travel properly at our own pace, and in particular having an eco friendly camper van would be amazing! But then again, if I owned our home then I could rent it out on air bnb while we travelled so that would be useful. Tough one!

Jackpot- all of the above, with lots of (eco!) travelling to different countries and spending plenty of time really immersing ourselves in each place. 

Last but not least, as cliché as it may sound, I would definitely also make donations to various charities, and/ or set up my own.

Now, where’s my lottery ticket gone…. 

#Blogtober16

Stay Wild: The ‘Wild’Life Continues…

Well, 30 Days Wild may be over, but our outdoor adventures and love of nature certainly is not! ‘Stay Wild’ with The Wildlife Trusts and continue to share nature/ wildlife themed posts on social media using the hashtag #StayWild ~ it is lovely to see what other people are up to!

And here are some of our latest ‘wild’ activities…

Aldenham SEN playground has a lovely natural environment and some resident wild rabbits roaming around too!

 

Squiggle took this photo herself. I love it! I feel that taking part in 30 Days Wild has meant we both notice and appreciate our natural environment even more than before and has also really helped to develop our photography skills.

 

I don’t know what this is but I love it, it looks so magical!


We also spent time in the garden, harvesting some of our homegrown vegetables…

Squiggle found lots of snails in the garden, of various sizes…

And we went to Stanborough park for a walk around the lake…

30 Days Wild – Day 26: A Different Kind of ‘Wild’

Squiggle enjoyed this ‘wild’ crocodile bouncy castle slide at Larks in the Parks today…

image

She also took this photo earlier on today because she loves that the thistle now nearly reaches the top of our 5ft fence! (Hopefully our neighbours share her enthusiasm!!!)

image

She was also very excited to see that a radish is starting to grow…

image

There are so many different ways to celebrate 30 Days Wild, it’s fantastic!

30 Days Wild- Day 6: Growing Our Own Food

We have a small area of our garden dedicated to growing our own fruit, vegetables and potatoes. Today we planted out our pepper seedlings and harvested some rocket potatoes from our GYOP project.

image

Here is a video clip taken a few weeks ago of Squiggle planting the seeds (and some others too)…

image

A fortnight after planting the seeds, seedlings were already growing strong.

image

Squiggle gently handled the seedlings as she carefully planted them outside.

Here is Squiggle, harvesting (and then later eating!) our potatoes…

image

image

I love her look of amazement!

For more information on the Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project, and to register now to take part in 2017, see their website www.growyourownpotatoes.org.uk

March Round-up

Here are our March highlights. I chose the song ‘Wonderful World’ because we went on several lovely nature walks and this song really echoes our appreciation of the world around us!

As well as the nature walks, a few of our other activities (as seen in the video) include a marine conservation workshop by Whale Fest, a playdate at the park, other parks and playgrounds, growing our own potatoes, reading, Aldenham SEN playground, a trip to Willows farm and a visit to Stockwood Discovery Centre.

July Activities

As well as the previous blog posts I have already written about some of our days out, here are some of the other activities Squiggle enjoyed in July…

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

June: Activities at Home

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

May 2015

Memories from May…

image
Seaside fun
image
Physical development
image
Creative movement/ interpretive dance- a plant growing
image
Planting more fruit and veg in our growing area
image
Sensory fun and physical games in the garden
image
General fun in the garden
image
Playing various sylvanian games, including measuring the height in hula hoops.
image
Maths- 'going shopping' for bunny food
image
Music class
image
Local playgrounds for sensory input and physical exercise
image
Designing her own playground for her toys in the garden
image
Reading- letters from penpals, my list of things that I found in the garden (a reading and writing observation game she made up herself) and 'shop' price list
image
Writing- letters to penpals, birthday cards and letters to mummy from her toys
image
Drawings (we also went to art group but no pictures of that)
image
Making a playmat for her toys based on a map she drew
image
Squiggle invented this rainbow game
image
Designed own mini skittles game
image
Van Hague- peacock spreading its feathers
image
Living Crafts at Hatfield House
image
Butterfly World
image
Park walks- spotting nature and exploring
image
Who lives in a house like this? Discussion about habitats
image
More park walks- Squiggle decided her toy cat Rain was interested in flowers so we took her on a flower walk
image
Mini topic on flowers- Venn diagram, parts of a plant, following written instructions, making own book and designing own activity
image
Willows Farm
image
Fun at the fair

image
Cassiobury park

image
Squiggle's party

image
Happy 7th birthday to my wonderful little girl. Mini tea party at home with buffet, cake, pass the parcel, musical chairs, pressies and playing! Plus a bike ride too.

image
A friend's birthday party