Growing vegetables is an incredibly satisfying activity. You see nature working in front of your eyes and get to eat the fruits (or perhaps vegetables) of your labour. For those venturing into the world of organic eating, this straightforward guide on how to grow your own vegetables at home with easy-to-follow home garden ideas is sure to help.
How to start a vegetable garden: a step-by-step guide
- Plan in advance. And don’t be too ambitious. Choose just a few crops to grow in your first year and build up from there.
- Define your plant beds. Ideally, keep at least half a metre between beds to avoid cross-contamination.
- Plant your seeds. Consider the light, season, type of soil, and accessibility they need to grow.
- Protect against pests. There are lots of ways you can do this from netting and natural pesticides to growing ‘distraction’ plants nearby that draw insects away.
- Tend to your crop. Give them time to grow and make sure you water, feed and check them regularly.
- Harvest! Pick your veg when it’s ready, then cook and enjoy your delicious, home-grown food. If your harvest yields more than expected, freeze or share it with friends and neighbours.
The easiest vegetables to grow
You’ve got your vegetable garden set up and maybe already know how to grow tomatoes (the classic place to start) but what next? What are the easiest crops when it comes to growing vegetables at home? Some of our favourites are:
- Spinach – grow during cool seasons only, it likes temperatures of 16-24⁰C.
- Lettuce – these will likely need shade from the South Africa sun.
- Cucumbers – add supports to enable them to grow upwards.
- Peppers – water the roots, not the peppers.
- Carrots – you want deep, loamy soil and a cooler season (February-April).
- Watercress – start these off on the windowsill before moving to the soil.
- Potatoes – dig a trench for your spuds and space them evenly.
- Green beans – pick somewhere with 6-8 hours of daily sunlight.
- Cabbage – plant during cooler months (March).
- Radishes – pick a soil with good drainage.
Very small garden ideas
Need to know how to grow vegetables when you don’t have a full garden or allotment? Here are some easy veggie garden ideas for even the smallest plots:
- Opt for plants which grow vertically, like pole beans, so you can fit more in.
- If you don’t have space to grow in the ground, buy small wooden raised boxes as plant beds.
- Opt for plants that give a big yield, as these will make the most of the space.
- Prioritise vegetables that you really enjoy eating when you don’t have much space.
These are our top tips when it comes to growing your own veg. Remember, no plot is too small, and anyone can grow something if they want to. Follow these vegetable garden ideas and you’ll soon be eating straight from your own veg patch!