Growing your own vegetables in your garden

More and more people are looking for ways that they can cut down on their living costs and help the environment and one of these ways is to grow your own vegetables. There is something very satisfying about eating fruit or vegetables that you have grown, and you will usually find that they taste a lot nicer too. If you haven’t got much room in your garden, then you may want to see if there is an allotment area that you can rent. If you do have room at home, then making a veg patch is relatively easy. You first need to find the right location for it and one where the soil is good. If the soil is not great, then you may be better to easier add top soil or to build a raised bed which you can fill with compost. You first need to decide what sort of vegetables you want to grow. Then you need to check what conditions they need and what time of year you need to plant them in. Sometime people start off by growing simple things such as herbs and salads such as rocket. If growing them on the ground, you do need to ensure that you have taken steps to ensure that they are not eaten by insects such as snails.

Keep your herbs growing through winter

People who want to continue to use fresh herbs in the kitchen during winter often find that many herbs die back and so they have to resort to buying them from the supermarket. It is possible to keep some herbs growing outside over winter, but the majority will need to be grown in a greenhouse or on a windowsill.

Two of the most common herbs that can be grown quite happily outdoors all year round are rosemary and thyme. These herbs are delicious when used to add flavour to lamb and chicken dishes and because of their woody stems survive the harshest of British winters. In order to keep them in tip top condition it is important to prune them every year as this will help the plant to produce new growth which will be tastier.

The more delicate herbs such as mint, coriander and parsley much prefer to be taken indoors during the winter months where they will flourish grown on a sunny kitchen windowsill. An indoor window box can be used for herbs meaning that they are easily accessed when needed. If left outdoors they will usually survive but will not provide the herby leaves that you will need for recipes until the late spring.

Help the environment and grow mushrooms

The supermarkets have an amazing choice of mushrooms on offer from the common button variety to the more exotic shitake mushroom. Some botanists believe that mushrooms are an essential part of our whole ecosystem and play a huge role in increasing the volume of water that the soil can absorb. So, as well as being delicious to eat mushrooms are vital to the survival of many creatures in the wild but how easy is it to cultivate your own?

Many species will grow in a garden on rotting wood lying around without any assistance but plugs of mushrooms can be bought and placed into drilled holes in an old log. Probably the easiest way to start to grow your own mushrooms is to get a starter kit which contains everything you need. A block of fungal mycelium is included which just needs watering. Within a few days a crop of mushrooms will grow for you to enjoy.

Mushroom foraging is a pastime for the knowledgeable forager as although there are many edible species that grow wild, there are also some that are toxic to humans with some looking very similar to edible ones. There are however experts that will guide anyone who is inexperienced but interested in this hobby.

Tips for your new garden

When you move into a new property that has a garden in wintertime it is important not to rush into remodelling the outdoor space straight away but rather just tidy it and then wait to see which plants surface throughout the year. Take the opportunity to observe which areas of the garden are in sun and shade as this will help you to decide where to put specific plants in the future. For instance, if there is an area that is mostly in the shade think about using this area for a pond surrounded by pond plants and ferns that will grow well in shady places.

If there are trees in the garden then it is a good idea to get an expert in to check their health especially if they are tall. Some trees have protection orders on them meaning that council permission must be sought to take them down or even to prune them so they should be assessed to see whether they need pruning back.

If there is already a vegetable patch in the new garden, digging it over and enriching the soil with a good quality fertiliser will ensure that it is ready for planting in the spring.

Gardens are not just for the summer

For many people, the end of summer signifies the end of sitting outside enjoying the garden, but it does not have to be so as autumn often sees some warm days which can still be pleasant. Are there ways in which we can enjoy our outdoor space throughout the year? The answer to this question is a resounding yes.

The patio area can still look amazing with pots planted with flowers that bloom throughout the autumn and winter such as pansies and violas. These can brighten up the outside area and evergreen bushes provide greenery throughout the year. Strategically placed solar lights around the garden may continue to work throughout the winter and can be hung on trees and fences to illuminate different areas.

Most types of garden furniture are weatherproof to a certain extent and so can be used throughout the year. A fire pit or outdoor patio heater can provide warmth on chilly evenings as can a cosy blanket. There is nothing quite like being outside on a clear night looking up at the stars.

If your garden suffers from poor drainage in the winter it may be worth considering artificial grass as an alternative to turf to prevent the lawn becoming muddy especially if you have children playing outside.