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Getting started: vegetable gardening and growing your very own vegetables

Welcome to the joy of organic vegetable gardening. There are few things as rewarding as growing your own healthy food from scratch. And whether you've been inspired to grow vegetables and fruits from a TV show, a book or magazine, seeing your friends' efforts, or you've just meaning to do so for years, you're taking a great step forward.

While organic vegetable gardening is rewarding and a lot of fun, as with almost all things, a little bit of preparation and research will pay you dividends in the long term.

The first time we ever tried vegetable gardening was pitiful. In a rented property I dug up a strip of lawn next to a fence, and threw in a few seeds and seedlings. Result? Not much (fortunately we've moved on considerably since then!) If you do the same, you might get lucky once, but next season you won't be able to do it again.

Why? Because a little bit of effort now makes all the difference.

How we can help

TV gardening shows make vegetable gardening look very easy. And it generally is, but they have the advantage of an editing suite and the disadvantage of a limited programing time, so they can't tell you a lot of the info you need to know. That's where we come in.

Our site, www.thevegetablepatch.com was set up by Paula and I in January 1998 to help you achieve your dreams of growing your own healthy produce. We are organic gardeners and avoid using destructive chemicals. This not only makes our fruit and vegetables healthy and safe for us, but it's good for our garden too. Click here to find out more about why organic is best.

What to do

Once you've decided that you want to get into vegetable gardening, and to do it organically, it's worth your while to print off our feature articles on what you should do to get started.

Safety always comes first, so make sure you read our garden safety information.

Then it's time to work out the best spot to position your vegetable garden.

Next you need to make a decision on how you want to set up your vegetable patch - by using either a no-dig garden or raised beds. Don't forget if you live in an apartment or are renting, it's still possible to grow lots of vegetables using containers.

To prevent diseases building up in the soil or having its nutrients depleted, it's a good idea to work out what you want to plant, and from there, where's the best spot to plant it. That's where crop rotation and companion planting come in handy.

Not sure what vegetables or fruits you want to grow - or how to grow them? All the way across our site you'll find toward the top of every page an easy drop-down menu of vegetable profiles.

Once you've decided what's going where, it's a good idea to add some organic fertilisers to your soil.

Over time you'll want to further enrich your soil using compost, we can show you how to do this.

Of course over time despite your best efforts pests and diseases may enter your garden. We've got some great organic ideas on what you can do to combat these problems.

Along the way you might also need to find out what best suits your local climate. After all the world is a big place, and whilst the basics behind organic vegetable gardening is always the same, how and when you do it depends on your local conditions. So why not first check out what's going on this month with or regional advisors. Or join our free discussion group to share ideas and ask questions with fellow gardeners.

Of course after all your success you can either cook up and eat your home grown vegetables now, or check out our preserving and storage ideas.

Can't find what you're looking for on our site? Try our search engine which is always in the right hand column of every page.

Growing your own organic fruit and vegetables is a fantastic and fun journey. I hope you find it as rewarding as we do.

Happy gardening




Last updated 23 October, 2008

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