BY ROBERT SLEIGHT
If you have just decided that you want to start a vegetable garden then good for you. At this point there is one really good piece of advice I would like to give you to start you on your gardening journey. That piece of advice is to start small. Don’t try and plant too much in one go when you are just starting out. Personally I have been doing this close to 10 years now and it can be very easy to want to have too much. Especially with the many different crops and varieties as there are today. What you need to decide is what your favourite fruit or vegetable is and go from there. Then every year can add a bit more or remove something that didn’t quite work. I didn’t do this so much and now I really wish I had of done.
What you decide to do now will be influenced a lot by what your abilities are. In my case, I can’t do anything physical. That means that I need to rely on my carers to do most of the Labour. Fortunately for me the carers who do most of the gardening have horses and are quite strong. This has the added bonus of supplying me with all the manure that I need. From the horses not the carers. I am more of the mastermind behind my garden. For me that involves researching what to plant and when. For people in a similar situation I would highly recommend a container garden. It will be easier to expand later on and it will be a lot less physical than digging up and turning over soil. Also if you garden in containers it doesn’t really matter so much what ground you have. Whether it be clay, grass, gravel or even concrete. You can also put your containers on wheels and push them around with your wheelchair to keep them in that perfect sunny spot.
If you are a little bit more able than me and have control of your arms then you can be a little bit more involved with the whole process. In this case you can take part in germination which is quite often the most important part of the whole thing. Germination can be done in many different ways depending on what the plant is. Sometimes you want to dampen the seeds and leave them somewhere dark for a few days. Other times you might simply need to sprinkle anything seeds in a small pot or module. You even have the option of using a propagator. Then it will be your job to monitor your baby seedlings and decide which ones will get planted on.
Once you have decided what you want to start with you can begin. In my case I decided that I really liked tomatoes and that was one of the first things that I planted. Tomatoes can be very productive if you look after them properly. Some types of tomato don’t even require very much maintenance and can sit quite nicely in a hanging basket. So if you want something easy and productive to start off with then I can highly recommend tomatoes. Although, you have probably missed the window to get any this year. I will however be covering tomatoes in a later post. The next thing I can recommend to you is potatoes. They will still grow in containers and as long as you keep them watered and feed them as directed they are pretty easy and can be very productive as well. Maybe, you are very impatient and in that case I would strongly suggest radish for the sheer speed that they grow. At this time of year you will need to make sure that you can keep them somewhere warm or inside and if you are lucky you should get a decent crop by the end of the year. Other things you can plant are things like mung beans and herbs which will grow all year round. (herbs in a window) I think though that I am the wrong person to ask about those because I have a tendency to kill them.
If you decide to plant something now then good luck I hope you get a decent harvest. As always though do your research and check on you tube to see what other people are doing. You will probably get some good ideas that way and avoid some of the pitfalls.
Until next time happy gardening and stay safe.