by Lindsay Wilson in Food
When you start a new vegetable garden the most important thing is to choose the right garden.
The ideal vegetable garden for you looks unlike it does for anyone else. Your veg patch needs to fit that lifestyle and give you pleasure. Otherwise it simply won’t last. Choose a style of veg patch that matches your levels of enthusiasm, time and money, as well as your physical space and local climate.
The following is a list of 8 types of home vegetable garden. A good garden for you is probably a hybrid of some of these elements.
1) The One Pot Herb Garden
The one pot herb garden is easy, cheap, beautiful and low maintenance. It might not produce that much, but the variety can be superb. This one has basil, rosemary, lavender, mint, parsley, dill and chives.
If you are just a beginner don’t mess around with seed. Buy a mixed set of plugs, make sure the soil has decent drainage and stick it somewhere sunny you see a lot, so you remember to water. The kitchen window is ideal.
2) The Windowsill Garden
If you live in a flat, a windowsill garden (or balcony garden) could be great for you. Windowsills are superb places for growing stuff as they are often sunny, cool and have good airflow. They are fast and simple to water.
Herbs, salad, strawberries, peppers and hanging tomatoes are all ideal for this set up as their soil and space demands are limited. The windowsill is also brilliant for avoiding snails, slugs and other pests that you might get on ground level.
3) The Container Garden
Container gardens are a super way to maximize both the yield and variety of food you can grow in a small space. If you are creative about it you can often get one going very quickly and cheaply by re-purposing old pots, boxes and crates to make functional growing space. They can also be really gorgeous because you get different heights and textures.
For people who are really busy ‘self watering planters’ are a good idea. The picture above is from verticalveg.org.uk, a guy renowned for growing a lot in a small space.
4) The Square Foot Garden
Build a small bed (often raised with good drainage) and divide it up into square feet. You can pot this up with little plugs, but most people tend to do them with seed.
You can grow a lot of variety in one space and watering is simple and fast. The example above is from The Wealthy Earth.
5) The Potager
If you like form as much as function then a potager might be for you. The ‘jardin potager’ is the traditional French kitchen garden that incorporates herbs, veg and fruit as well as flowers, shrubs and structure.
The DIY version is simply to plant all your stuff in mixed beds and to make it beautiful. It really helps with motivation if it’s your view out of your kitchen window.
6) The Raised Bed Garden
This is possibly the best option for newbies with some space. If you’ve got the time to spend then a raised garden bed is a fabulous investment. The soil has better drainage because it is not compacted by walking on it.
You can grow most things in them, are good to water and easy to weed. This example is from gardenista.com.
7) The Greenhouse
The author is surrounded by tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, basil… If you can’t find time to water every day, a greenhouse is not for you. It takes months of consistent loving and care. They can also cost a pretty penny, so you only want to go for one. But the tomatoes are heavenly!
8) The Traditional Plot
The traditional vegetable garden is the tradition because it is a cheap, easy and functional way to grow food. Their major feature is long rows of different crops: potatoes, onions, leeks, beans, zucchini, pumpkin, cabbages, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, beets, kale and corn (in blocks not rows).
The spacing between rows is important. You want it to be wide enough to hoe for weeds and walk along, but not so wide it wastes precious space. Improve your soil each year by adding compost, manure and drainage where necessary. Rotating crops is also recommended.
Starting Your Garden
If you are just starting out and have limited time then why not think about growing some herbs and salads in containers. If you get a simple pack of herb and salad seedlings, one bag of compost (peat free) and some old containers you can have a veg garden in 30 minutes. And you’ll be eating it in just a couple of weeks.
If you are getting more serious about it then both containers and raised beds are a great way to set out your garden and limit the amount of watering and weeding you’ll need to do. You can grow all sorts in them! Finally if you’re lucky enough to have the space and time then why not consider a traditional bed of vegetables or try your hand at a greenhouse?
What type of veg garden are you going for this year?