Growing your own fruits and vegetables is not as hard as you might think. Give it a try.
If you like to know what you eat, you have good reason to grow your own vegetables in the garden. In order for it to succeed, you should have a plan.
- Check the location for planting the vegetables
- Bringing good neighbours together
- Loosening the soil
- It’s all in the mix
- Practical tips for numerous vegetables
Check the location for planting the vegetables
The first step is to take stock. Inspect the space in the garden for vegetables very carefully. How big is the area? How many beds about 1.20 meters wide plus paths would have space there? What is the soil like? How much sun gets there? Shady locations are not suitable. Most vegetables need a lot of sun to thrive. Then it’s time for the wish list: Which vegetables would you like to harvest? Based on the list, you can check whether the plants fit the location, how many you can accommodate, and whether the expected harvest will correspond to the quantities you really need.
Bringing good neighbours together
Not every vegetable feels comfortable next to every other. In order to avoid food competition and the transmission of diseases, it is better to plant different plant families together. This means: do not plant parsley next to carrots, because both are umbellifers. This is also one of the reasons why summer flowers and vegetables often share a bed so successfully in cottage gardens. Good neighbors are carrots and marigolds. They do not compete with each other, and the flowers also protect the vegetables from nematodes. Examples of good neighbourliness can be found, for example, under Mixed cultivation in vegetable cultivation: Which plants go together? from NDR.
Loosening the soil
To thrive, most vegetables need well-aerated, nutrient-rich soil. It is best to start loosening it up immediately after the last harvest, but no later than February or March, and enrich it sufficiently with compost and fertilizer. In addition, clayey, loamy soils become more permeable to water by adding sand. Sandy ones are improved with compost and rock flour. Digging up only makes sense if you have to prepare a previously uncultivated area for vegetables and clear the soil of rampant weeds such as goutweed, morning glory and couch grass. If possible, this should be done in autumn so that soil life can regenerate.
It’s all in the mix
From the beginning of spring, cold-resistant vegetables (e.g. carrots, radishes, peas) can be sown outdoors, cold-sensitive vegetables (e.g. beans) only from mid-May. The sowing times can be found on the seed bags. Heat-loving plants such as tomatoes or peppers are preferred on the windowsill. To prevent the soil from leaching, one should pay attention to crop rotation, i.e. in successive years, heavy feeders (e.g. many types of cabbage and potatoes), medium feeders (e.g. onions, spinach) and weak eaters (e.g. lettuce, herbs) change places.
Practical tips for numerous vegetables
- Beetroot is robust, likes humus-rich soils, lots of sun – and beans, onions, cucumbers or dill as bed neighbors. Sowing April to June
- Cucumbers need a lot of space, nutrient-rich soil and always enough water. It is best to grow indoors or place purchased plants in the bed from the end of May. Real laurel as a roommate keeps pests away
- Growing tomatoes from seed is for the patient. It’s easier with seedlings from the nursery
- Radishes only need 4-6 weeks of growing time. So feel free to reseed again and again. They like it sunny to semi-shaded and grow especially well in a humus-rich, well-drained, slightly moist soil
- Planting potatoes: Press organic or special seed potatoes into the soil as “mother tubers” with a distance of two handbreadths and always keep them well moist (avoid waterlogging!). Harvest after a good three months – and enjoy
- Swiss chard: The plants love nutritious substrate and sunny to semi-shady locations, harvest time is from July to October
- Paprika: Likes itwarm and sheltered. The plants like to stand on the wall of the house, which stores the sun’s heat and releases it again in the evening. It is important to have a support rod, nutritious soil and plenty of water, but no waterlogging.