Dreaming of a new veg patch? Whether you dream of a French-style potager or Victorian-style rows, prepare the plot well, give each plant room to grow to the best it can be and a vision of abundant veg can be yours.
You can start a new veg plot at any time of the year, but starting it in autumn means you’ll have plenty of time to do the planning and ground work so it’ll be ready for planting in spring.
More on growing fruit and veg:
Here are our tips for creating your own veg plot.
Find the right spot
A splendid walled vegetable garden
Some veg prefer dappled shade, but most like sun. No crops will grow under a tree or in deep shade. Pick an area that’s level and sheltered from the worst of the wind. Access to a tap or a water butt cuts down trips with a watering can.
Design your plot
Planning on paper
Drawing out a plan helps iron out glitches early. Plan beds in groups of four to make it easier to rotate your veg around the plot, so that pests and diseases don’t build up. You can include flowers for cutting, too, such as gladioli, sunflowers and sweet peas.
Deal with weeds
Digging out weed roots
Clear perennial weeds like couch grass and bindweed before you plant. You can tackle weeds without chemicals, by digging, but it takes effort. Keep a close eye for any emerging weeds you may have missed. Discover five ways to deal with weeds.
Tackle a bit at a time
Covering areas of soil in preparation with membrane
Start small – don’t dig up the entire garden, only to realise you’ve taken on too much. Dig up a small area instead and get that right. Cover any unused areas with black mulch to keep weeds under control.
Get the soil right
Raised beds for growing veg
If you’re on chalk or heavy clay, it’s easier to grow veg in raised beds. Fill with a mixture of soil-based John Innes compost, council green waste and topsoil. If growing in soil, do a pH test with a kit. Neutral soil is best – add lime to acid soil or sulphur if alkaline.