Six things I've learnt since trying to grow my own vegetables

One thing I have fallen completely and utterly over in heels in love with is growing my own vegetables and fruit. It's something I've been meaning to do for a couple of years as I've become more passionate about food. But there was always an excuse on why I never took the plunge. Having to fill my time after being furloughed finally gave me the kick up the bum to do it. Now I don't think I will ever not grow food in my garden. I'm already planning what I'm going to grow next year! I have been completely making it up along as I go but here are six valuable things I have learn along the way.

1. Keep an eye on cats
Connor kindly built me a gorgeous raised vegetable bed using railway sleepers. But I noticed as soon as we put the soil on top we had a sudden influx of cats deciding to take an interest in our garden. We had never had a problem with cats going to the toilet in our garden before! All of a sudden I had a lot of number twos on my veg patch. It was so frustrating and completely destroyed my vision of living the good life! We ended up buying one of those cat alarms which send off a high-pitched noise to help scare them away. I also put down some lemons and oranges cut in half as cats don't tend to like citrus. Keep in mind cats are creatures of habit so it will take about seven days before anything starts to work.

2. Be patient
I am not a very patient person by nature but you have to be when you're growing veg. You won't get edible food overnight! I specifically grew vegetables I knew didn't take too long like radishes and lettuce. This kept me interested as I could see the end result quicker. It kept me keen to try other vegetables.

3. Google is your best friend
Growing vegetables is a minefield! Soil, sunlight, pollination are just a few things you need to think about. Treat Google like your best friend. I can guarantee there will be an answer to every single one of your questions. It really isn't as simple as planting a seed and hoping for the best. But that's part of the fun!

4. Don't be afraid to experiment
I really didn't have a clue on where to start so I bought a few seeds  of my favourite vegetables from the garden centre. I planted them in pots to begin with and waited to see if they decided to grow. I had some which took off and others which didn't even get started. Some didn't work because I didn't water them enough, some got completely destroyed by birds and some didn't have the correct soil. You won't have successes 100% of the time. But that just means the successes you do have will be even sweeter!

5. Grow in pots before planting
I found it was easier to start off vegetables in little pots on my windowsill. It stops the seedlings from being eaten by critters and it allows you to keep a close look on how they are faring. I usually transplant them around three times in different sized pots before taking the plunge and planted them outside. Make sure you acclimatise them before you fully plant them outside. I tend to leave them outside for a few hours in the sunshine for a couple of days before leaving them overnight.

6. Make sure you have lots of flowers in your garden
You will need to rely on bees to help pollinate your vegetable so it grows successfully. Bees won't come to your garden unless you have lots of lovely flowers. Something I found out the hard way! I invested in a gorgeous lavender bush and a few wild flower bombs to help entice them.


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