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It's easier than you think!

I have always wanted a veggie garden, but I tend to be a reverse perfectionist about these things ie I want it to be perfect so I end up not doing it at all!

Needless to say, I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and just do it! First up was finding the best spot - an unused section of the garden facing onto the river seemed to be the best choice, although it sloped quite terribly downhill and the soil quality was horrendous!

See what I mean?

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The slope was addressed by building a retaining wall just inside the fence, before levelling the ground with an alarming amount of topsoil. I was also VERY obedient and took my gardener’s advice to dig in loads of compost until the soil was a lovely dark rich colour – an absolute must when starting your veggie patch. Use a fork and dig it in to about a metre depth, and remove any stones and roots – this will mean the difference between “okay” veggies and those that thrive.

Next up was coming up with a design. I had already bought a gazebo on sale from Builder’s Warehouse, which I placed in the corner. This is THE best place to have a cup of tea and read a magazine – it is so unbelievably peaceful. I was also adamant about having a water feature as the central point (despite Stephen’s moans about water and electricity) and that went in next. I then used a garden hose to mark out the outlines of the flower beds, including a central bed around the water feature. Our very nice bricklayer marked these beds with bricks and laid gravel in between as a path. (FYI – gravel was not a great choice as I tend to wander out barefooted to work in the garden and end up with sore feet. It does look VERY pretty though).

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I added a few trellises for height – ideal for climbing tomatoes or beans – trawled some local junk shops for old spades, milk cans and watering cans to place randomly around the beds and on the wall, and convinced my bewildered father-in-law to part with an old ladder to use to stack pots.

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And the rest was easy. I popped into the nursery and bought seedlings – a far better idea than seeds when starting out, as they grow so much faster and there is no need to panic about how deep to plant them. Pop them in the soil, water frequently and then admire your handiwork from afar!

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To give you some ideas – I have had great success with celery, baby tomatoes (I planted WAY too many and ended up eating them for what felt like EVER), cabbage (I don’t normally like cabbage but it makes a heavenly coleslaw), spring onions, onions, spinach, lettuce (the easiest thing to grow – but it can “bolt” ie go to seed with the changing weather – just pull it out and plant new ones as lettuce that has bolted tastes bitter), all types of herbs, strawberries, radishes and rocket. At the moment, I am attempting to grow asparagus and lemon grass (bash the stems and place in a tea pot with hot water for THE best tea).

Definitely worth doing – just mark out a patch, dig in some compost and plant some seedlings from the local nursery. Then add some flower seedlings for colour and take it from there. It is so much fun, and impossible to feel tired and grumpy when you are picking tomatoes from your own garden!

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