5 tips to get your veggie garden started

Whether you are considering starting your own veggie patch as a means to sidestep harmful chemicals or overpriced store-bought veg, or as a chance to engage with the earth and get some dirt under those fingernails, starting your own vegetable garden is pretty simple. Here are five tips to get you on your way:

1. Start small
Nothing is more disappointing than a failed crop. Start with a few small kitchen herbs on a sunny window sill: thyme, basil, oregano and chives will be quite happy there. If you have a bit more space try a raised planter or large pot. Many plants like tomatoes, mixed salad greens, beetroots, potatoes and beans are all well suited for growing in planters.
2. Start with good soil
A good potting mix is one part peat, one part sand and one part compost. Make your own or ask your local nurseryman about organic potting soil options.
3. Position, position, position
Make sure you place your pots and planters where they will get a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
4. Water regularly
An easy gauge is to insert your index finger up to the second digit, if the soil is moist it’s fine, if it’s dry you’ll need to water.

5. Make it interesting
Buy interesting varieties and plant the food you love to eat and that produces in abundance. In smaller areas focus in on ‘cut and come again’ varieties of lettuces and salad greens. Choose cocktail tomatoes as they fruit earlier and give higher yields. Try collaborating with friends and family to maximize your space and share the growing. Find out more about heirloom varieties.

Looking for more inspiration to get your veggies going? Here are 5 reasons to ‘grow your own’.
Got plans on Tuesday 5 June? For the second year running, Yuppiechef is inviting people to eat for the earth by hosting a meal and making a donation to Soil for Life on World Environment Day, the most widely celebrated day for environmental action. Soil for Life are tackling the issue of food security in South Africa one household at a time by teaching people in underprivileged communities to start their own food gardens and making it possible for families to sit down to healthy meals all year round. Find out more and get involved.