Growing your own – a guide to planting and growing flowers, food & herbs
Gardening is an amazing and very rewarding past-time, which is enjoyed by many people across the globe and by a variety of age groups. If you're tired of just having a simple lawn, there are countless ways that you can enhance your garden. Through gardening you don't just gain a delightful place to spend time relaxing or entertaining, but your new hobby will also keep you active.
Here we give you a little insight into how to start growing flowers, vegetables or herbs at home.
A good starting point is to plan what you'd like to achieve. Do you want a flower garden, somewhere to grow your own food, or something in between. Making a monthly plan for planting is a good start. With food you should consider stagger sowing in early Spring, or late winter using a greenhouse, and harvest your crop throughout Summer and early Autumn.
You may also want to consider investing in some basic gardening equipment:
To get the flower garden you always wanted you don't need a gigantic garden or years of experience, just the motivation.
First of all, it's a good idea to plan out your garden and decide which plants you'd like and where. Consider light levels in different areas of your garden and make sure that you plan to plant suitable flowers in shady / sunny areas. You also need to make sure you have the right garden tools for the job in hand.
Before you plant anything, you will need to ensure that your soil is suitable for the flowers you'd like to grow, or you can prepare it with fertiliser / mulch. If you have clay-soil then a raised bed full of good quality soil compost could be the easiest solution.
Buying good quality and mature potted plants is by far the easiest way to get started. Think about whether you'd like to plant annuals for ease or a mixture with some perennials thrown in.
Having a herb garden will greatly increase your enjoyment of cooking. There's nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs to pep-up your cooking. Many of us are familiar with having potted herb plants on the kitchen windowsill, it's not a difficult progression to growing your own herb garden.
Again, it's a good idea to plan ahead and separate your evergreens and annuals from your perennials. Infact, using planters is a good idea for perennials so as they can bemoved inside once it starts to gets cold.
A herb garden needn't be merely functional, by planting different herbs in height order or in an intricate pattern is a great way to create a centre piece for your garden. By planting parsley, dill, or fennel you can also attract butterflies to your garden
Remember, you will need good compost and a good amount of watering to keep your herbs health. They're also sun-loving so make sure you plan you herb garden in sun bathed area. Lastly, you need to be careful with more rampant herbs mint, which will spread throughout your garden, if you're not careful.
Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables
Thanks, in part, to the global economic situation, there's a real growing movement for urban vegetables and fruit gardens. The effect on your shopping bill will be apparent, but you will also get a good amount of exercise and, indeed, enjoyment. Plus you'll be able to cut your carbon footprint – reducing the distance of your food to the table, considerably.
You don't need acres of land to grow your own food all you need is a mini greenhouse or a garden planter /window box on your patio, balcony or windowsill.
In the garden, you may want to think about using a greenhouse and cold frames to make sure you have hardy vegetables in Autumn and Winter as well as leafy salads ready for Spring and Summer. As always with gardening, plan which vegetables you'd like and when you need to sow them. You need to think about having a mixture of beans, starchy and leafy vegetables so you get a balance of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins.
Remember, it's possible to dry, freeze or even pickle some of your fruit and vegetables choices which make them last through the Winter.