Vegetables will grow in virtually all garden soils. You should dig your garden in the Autumn working in plenty of well rotted compost. It may be best, certainly easier, if your soil has become compacted, to use a rotovator. If, by any chance, your garden soil is sandy, you should add bulky organic material to it and by growing a green manure, you can improve the soil over the longer term. Green manure is annuals, like mustard or phacelia that can be dug into the soil before they set seed. As they decay they enrich the soil with humus.
Clearing your garden:
Clear away all the weeds and waste material on the garden and break down the soil to a centimetre or two by using a garden hoe. Once you have done this rake over your soil to remove any remaining stones or debris. The best time to undertake this task is when the weather is mild, when the soil is neither too wet nor too dry when the soil easier to work.
Water is essential for your plants, so you need to make sure you have a source that is close to your vegetable plot. Ensure that you have a source close enough to allow you to water thoroughly with your hose whenever necessary. It is a good idea to have a water butt, if you have a shed or building close to your vegetable garden so you can collect rain water from the roof. It is best to keep the butt covered to prevent algae or water borne diseases that could affect your young plants.
So that you can identify which plants you have planted where, later on in the season, it is a good idea to label your rows. Empty seed packets are ideal for this purpose. Fix them to sticks that are pushed into the ground and then cover the packets with plastic bags to protect them from the wet weather. You can buy or make your own labels if you still have seeds left in the packet.
It is clear you need tools for working your vegetable garden and it is better to always store them where it is most convenient. A garden shed is vital for storing your garden paraphernalia and seeds. Never leave your tools outside, always clean them after use and store them in the dry.
If you would like your vegetable plants to be at a more convenient height, raised beds will ease your having to bend to tend your plants. Raised beds, constructed from wood look good, they become an attractive feature of your vegetable garden, displaying your low growing vegetables as if they were decorative plants in their own right.
The Vegetable Garden should suit your needs:
When you design your vegetable garden remember to take into account the time and energy you have to spend working on it. For a vegetable plot that is ten metre's square you should allow about half a day's work a week. If you have a cultivator you can reckon on less time per week.
Ten metre square vegetable garden: In this size of garden you can grow a selection of vegetables that would be sufficient to meet the needs of a couple.
Fifty metre square vegetable garden:
On this size of garden you can grow more than enough produce for a family of four.
Hundred metre square vegetable garden: On this size of garden you can grow a large selection of vegetables that would be more than enough to support a large family.
Old fashioned Charm:
To give your vegetable garden the feel of a traditional cottage garden put scented and decorative flowers and plants around the borders. Herbs, such as sage, thyme as well as summer savoury are attractive and can also be used in the kitchen for all sorts of dishes. For a brighter look use sweet williams, dwarf dahlias, calendula and phlox which are both traditional as well as colourful.
For a more formal appearance you might prefer to use a low box hedge in the place of flowers as an edging for your garden paths. Box hedge is slow growing with small evergreen leaves that can be kept neat and compact with regular clipping.
When sowing two different types of vegetables in one bed work out the spacing between the rows by adding the amount of space required by each crop and dividing the total by two.