In the UK, for example, the price of basic groceries has increased by 17% since September 2021. These ever-increasing prices are pushing more people to become self-sufficient by growing their own fruits, vegetables, pulses, and herbs, with this leading to an estimated saving of a whopping £1300 each year. This saving is invaluable during the tough economic times people are experiencing currently.
Aside from helping cut costs, growing your own vegetables is a way to eat healthier, fresh produce. If you’re keen to exercise your ‘green fingers’ by growing your own vegetables, then you’re in the right place, as today I will be giving you my top tips for how to grow your own food.
Plants require water to survive. Up to 90% of plants are made up of water. Water is necessary for cell growth, stability, and structure. Early in the morning is the optimum time to water your vegetables. Your veggies will grow faster during this period, giving the soil and roots time to properly absorb the water before the sun’s heat causes it to evaporate.
If your vegetable patch is newly sown it will require frequent watering. However, most established crops can survive on one to two inches of water per week. Mulch your soil with several inches of straw or chopped leaves to save water and lessen the need to irrigate. To establish the health of your veggies, you can utilize plant identifier apps such as this plant id app. This app for iPhone can remind you about the care that your vegetables need. You can even set reminders to water your veggies!
Using the right soil is essential to ensure that your veggies will thrive. You should use soil rich in organic materials and nutrients, with adequate water retention. However – remember that although clay-rich soil holds onto moisture well, it can harm plants if it becomes too wet. A soil test is a great place to start, as this can give you an idea of the fertility and pH of your soil and in turn, give an idea of the types of fertilizers you should be using to bring your soil up to par. An easy way to get nutrients into your soil is by utilizing other natural matter, such as bark or composted leaves.
You need to keep the number of weeds in your vegetable garden to an absolute minimum because they deprive your veggies of light, water, and nutrition. Thus, creating a haven for insects and disease. The best weed management tool is having the ability to spot weeds at an early stage. This is because weeds can be more easily controlled when they are small through routine gardening. Wherever there is bare ground, weed seeds will sprout, so you should try to keep mulch or a cover crop on top of the vegetable patch to prevent weed germination.
There are a number of different factors you should consider when deciding what veggies to plant for cooking.
Begin by growing the vegetables you are confident your family will eat. Growing your own veggies for cooking is only worthwhile if the vegetables you grow are well-liked by your family! To do this, look at your shopping list and determine which vegetables you purchase most frequently.
You should also consider the space you have available. If you have a small garden, choose veggies that don’t require much room. These include lettuce, radishes or carrots. In a large garden, on the other hand, you will have plenty of space to grow anything you want.
A final factor to consider is the amount of time you have to spend on your vegetable patch. Some vegetables must be harvested multiple times each week. Whilst others require routine pest and disease inspections. If you don’t intend to work on your garden for more than a few hours each week, you should focus on growing veggies that are low maintenance. Some low-maintenance veggies include radishes, onions, and beets.
Most vegetables, especially those that produce fruit like tomatoes, require a lot of suns. A position with a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight each day is ideal. Virtually every variety of common veggies grown at home enjoys the sun and will do whatever to get as much of it as they can. However, some vegetables can be grown in low light. These include leafy plants and herbs.
Usually, everyone who has their own vegetable patch will have to deal with pests at some point. Nature will typically take care of the issue. However, if you must use insecticides, use them sparingly. It is best to only use insecticides in the afternoon or evening. You should not use them in the morning when beneficial insects and pollinators are most active.
Although there is a lot to consider when growing your own veggies for cooking, do not let this dissuade you from trying it out. The benefits far outweigh the costs. You can save money whilst improving the health of your family. Produce that is grown at home contains more nutrients than shop-bought veggies which travel long distances.
Some home-grown vegetables may contain more than 100% more vitamins and antioxidants than imported, shop-bought ones. Planting your own veggies for cooking is a no-brainer, especially if you utilize a plant app to support you with this process!