If you, like me, have decided you want to ‘grow your own’, then the first thing you need to decide is how to plan your vegetable garden layout. You absolutely shouldn’t just throw a few carrots in the dirt!
Although I am always looking for ways to save money and spend less, I haven’t started to grow my own veg to save money. It may save me money in the long run, but there is some expense involved in starting a vegetable garden, especially when starting from scratch.
Rather than being seen as a money saving exercise, gardening should be embraced as a healthy hobby. And this is true whatever the scale of your gardening estate.
Once you decide that you want to grow your own, the first step is to determine what type of garden you’re going to build. And where your vegetable garden will be. Bear in mind that planning your garden will take some time and probably a bit of effort.
If all you have is some space inside, then it is certainly possible to have a small indoor growing area. It is also a good choice as an indoor garden can be easier on those who can’t necessarily get around as well physically.
This type of garden can also be grown by anyone of any age. Children love to grow things indoors. When you create an indoor garden, you’ll have some of the same growing needs to consider that you would have if you planted an outdoor garden.
You’ll need to decide on a container system. Many indoor gardens are hydroponic ones. This means that soil isn’t used as part of the growing process. By using a hydroponic system, your plants grow quickly, but they do require power to grow. This is not one of the cheapest methods to use for growing an indoor garden.
I have a small hydroponic container set up in my kitchen window and it is good fun but you are probably not going to be feeding a family with it!
You can use window boxes, pots, planters, or baskets. You can use barrels, plastic containers and more. Nearly anything can be used as long as it has a proper drainage system.
Microgreens are very popular and these are very easy to grow indoors. A shallow dish is really all you need.
Patio or Balcony
You can grow many fruits and vegetables in pots, so your patio or balcony can soon become a productive area. Just be aware of the weight if you are planning on using a balcony.
If you have a limited amount of space, then remember to think vertically as well as horizontally. Growing plants upwards is a great way to increase a small amount of space.
You can create a tower garden in order to grow plants. This means that you’re growing things vertically rather than horizontally. This allows you to grow more plants in less space, so it’s a great idea for things like small apartment patios or other homes with limited room to grow a garden.
If you have space in a garden you can either grow directly in the soil, or use raised beds. Raised bed gardening is where you plant things in areas built up over your soil. These will even work when placed on a paved area.
Usually these are pre-built containers made of wood or other materials in square or rectangular shapes. These are lined with things like wood chips or grass clippings, covered with cardboard, and then filled with soil. Using raised beds can allow garden plants to thrive better, which is one reason they’re so popular.
If you choose to, why not use a combination approach to gardening. There is nothing to stop you having both an indoor and an outdoor garden.
Try using a mixture of growing methods. You might rely on container gardening for inside your home or on your back porch, while still using a raised bed in the backyard at the same time.
Your Garden Plan
Now you know how to plan your vegetable garden layout, you need to decide which locations you can realistically use to grow your vegetables. The best thing to do is to draw out a plan.
There are apps and programmes available, but I suggest you draw it all out first using pen and paper. Take photos on your phone too, so that you have a visual record.
Make sure that you keep your plans realistic, and that you don’t over crowd your future plants. Note where the sun will be, throughout the day, and also if there are areas which will be very windy or have no shelter.
If , when starting to plan your vegetable garden layout, you realise that you are only able to garden inside, be realistic about which areas you can use. The novelty will wear off very soon, if you have to keep moving plants aside to cook or even sit!
Also, if you only have a small outside area, consider what else you want to do there. Do you want to sit, eat and entertain there too. Will you have small children crushing everything you try to grow with their footballs.
Your plants have to co-exist with your family life, so however much you dearly want your own produce, be realistic.