If you are facing into the new year and looking for a new year’s resolution that will guarantee healthy living, exercise and a better diet then I’ve got just the answer; start your own vegetable plot! Growing vegetables is a great and rewarding hobby. The amount of work required can discourage a lot of people from starting one, but with a few simple tips and proper planning and preparation growing vegetables such as Lettuce or carrots can be quite easy.
With anything in life preparation is key and in gardening its all about good ground preparation; the soil must be dug to a depth of 1 and ½ feet and all weeds, weed roots and large and small stones must be removed. So, already I may have lost some readers, but it is worth pointing out that if you prepare your vegetable garden properly in the first year the amount of work you need to do in the subsequent years is a great deal less. Also, you can choose how big or small you want your vegetable garden to be; if your only hoping to grow lettuce and carrots then a 2M by 2M plot would be sufficient and won’t required too much time to prepare. Lastly and best of all; get some help! When I was younger my parents would get me to do a lot of the garden work and it’s what got me interested in gardening to this day.
The best time of year to prepare a new or existing vegetable garden is in late autumn, this is so that the soil and insects have time to settle back down and for the soil to come back to life well before any seed is sown. Preparing before winter also has the added benefit of the winter frosts which help turn the soil into a fine crumbling surface which is ideal for sowing your seed onto. If you haven’t prepared your soil in autumn you will however be in the majority of gardeners in the country. So don’t worry, choose the driest weekend between now and early March to get digging and prepare for sowing your Lettuce and carrot seeds
Carrots needing thinningin late spring.
Why I would recommend carrot and lettuce as easy to grow in the first year is because they don’t take up much space and therefore you only need to make a small plot in the first year for a good harvest. They are also (in the first year) not prone to attack from pests or diseases. Lettuce is only really eaten by caterpillars, pigeons and rabbits and all are easy to control against. Carrots are susceptible to the carrot fly and will need protection against this but not generally in the first year.
Both carrots and Lettuce give a reliable yield so long as they are sown at the right time; late March to mid April, so long as the soil is of a reasonable quality; good drainage, deep brown in colour with added, well rotted farmyard manure, and so long as weeds are controlled during the summer months; meaning a regular hoeing and hand weeding should be done every two weeks