In a bid to beat the cost-of-living crisis, British households are looking for ways to mitigate the financial impact. With fresh food inflation hitting the highest levels on record, more than two-fifths of people are using their gardens, allotments, or balconies to grow their own food.
Research shows that you can save up to £2000 a year by changing your garden space into a vegetable patch, with homegrown produce like tomatoes costing as little as 5p a pound compared to more than £1 in supermarkets.
Think about shade
Almost all vegetables and fruit will grow better in the sun so you need to think about where the shade falls in your garden. Consider where the midday sun falls and which areas receive the most sunlight throughout the day so you can plan out where to lay out vegetable beds.
Some veg like herbs and salad leaves do better in shaded areas so you should prioritise sunnier spaces for the seeds that most need it.
Plan your garden workspace
Growing your own produce isn’t just sowing seeds and waiting for them to grow. There is a lot of propagating and potting involved so it will be helpful to have a workspace dedicated to this. Greenhouses are the ideal option as they provide shelter for your seedlings and keep any pests away from them as they grow.
If you don’t have the space or budget for a greenhouse, building a cold frame is a great alternative. This is a glazed box that lays flat on the ground with glass openings on one side.
Build raised beds
For optimum growing conditions, consider building raised flowering beds out of plywood or MDF sheets. Simple and cost-effective, this will improve drainage for your seedlings as the soil in raised beds is never stepped on and is uncompacted.
It also allows you to use different types of soil in your garden and makes for easy garden maintenance.
Watering and water storage
Plenty of water is a must if you’re going to successfully grow fruit, even in moist temperatures. You will need an easy source of water close to hand to keep up with regular irrigation. With rising bills, mains water can be expensive so catching and storing rainwater can be an effective alternative.
Including garden pathways will make it much easier to navigate your vegetable patch without damaging your plants. The wider the better as you’ll be working on your crops from these paths and will need to have equipment like wheelbarrows pass through from time to time.
You can go for the classic gravel or pavement to separate your patches but biodegradable materials like sawdust and woodchip work just as well.