How to "Grow Your Own" Fruit and Vegetables...

You may have heard recently that a combination of 'Brexit' and Covid19 has resulted in a'Nationwide Driver Shortage', sadly leaving some supermarket shelves empty as they wait for stock to be shipped across the UK.  Whilst we hope this is a temporary blip why not take some action into your own hands and become your personal supplier of fresh fruit and veg!?

A vegetable garden can be the perfect addition to your landscape. By growing fruit and veg you can be ensured healthy, regular, organic produce that's ready to pick from your own garden!  Not only will you save money in the long run but you will also take joy in the process - and it's a great way to teach children where their food comes from.
Sleepers make a great raised vegetable bed.

Do you have a designated area ready?  We recommend somewhere in your garden that has as much sun light as possible with a fence or wall close by to protect vines and fruits, such as tomatoes, from winds.  Prepare the area by digging out any clay or heavy soil - as some vegetables grow underground the soil will need to be easy to work with and have the room to let root vegetables grow.  If you are using your existing soil you can add lots of different things to improve the soil nutrition and structure, we suggest:

Multi Purpose, Peat Free, Organic Compost - screened rich, black organic compost that's peat free, well rotted and packed full of nutrients (we suggest that you mix this in 50:50 ratio to your soil - more if it's particularly bad).

Composted Mulch Fines - well rotted bark fines added to poor soil will help with drainage and will continue to rot down over time, we suggest to do this in the Winter time to prepare your veg plot for Spring but it's also great during hotter months to retain moisture and keep roots cool.

Top up your veg bed and fruit pots with compost for the best yields.

Wintermix, Springmix and Summermix Compost - these blends are created to suit the time of year, weather conditions and growing season in mind.  This mix of mushroom compost, mulch fines and organic compost is super rich - we suggest adding this to your soil in advance so that it can break down and work its magic. In the Winter the mix has slightly more mushroom compost added to keep borders and plots warm whilst slowly releasing nutrients and in the Summer it will retain moisture keeping your soil lush even in dry conditions.

TIP: If you are growing your vegetables in a raised bed or planter you should add some drainage gravel, such as our Welsh Brown, or our horticultural grit to the bottom.  If you plan to sow carrot seeds then add sand to your topsoil as carrots and similar veggies need a loose structure in order to grow down properly - this helps keep them lovely and straight!

          Adding stone and sand for drainage could be the key to straight carrots!

Once you have established the area you are using, i.e. veg plot, greenhouse, raised bed, grow bags or planters you need to add your topsoil.
For this we recommend you use Dandy’s very own VegeGrow Topsoil, which is packed full of nutrients and perfect for growing all kinds of vegetables.  As the name suggests our FruitGrow Topsoil is ideal for fruits and trees. These complete topsoil mixes don't need anything added to get yourself started but you may wish to adjust the sand content for the likes of carrots, strawberries etc.  We always suggest that you add organic matter in the form or compost, manure or mulch after every yield.  Whether that's once a year or every 6 months your veggies will thank you for it and you'll always be the envy of your neighbours.
 
After laying down your VegeGrow you’ll need to buy your seeds or bulbs.  Make sure that you plant the seeds within the correct season, this will be specified on the packet as well as the depth they will need to be placed, also you must plant them well spaced out and within a good amount of sunlight.  Make sure seeds are covered by the soil and give them plenty of water (especially throughout their first few weeks of growth) this is vital.


As the crops progress continue to provide them with water regularly, make sure you remove any areas of the plant that have died, this will then allow the plant to regrow.  Also remove any weeds that may have grown within your vegetable patch, in order to prevent any further weed growth you could try Dandy’s Anti-Weed Membrane Fabric which will cover your beds and borders in a protective layer of porous material that also allows for easy drainage.

To keep your whole area tidy and free from weeds we suggest that you add some Hardwood Path Chips to the paths and in between different veg and fruit areas. 


When the time comes and you have grown your veg, remove the fruits and dispose of the plant (the remains of your plants could be used to build your very own compost pile), however if you find any seeds that may be used then you should definitely keep them… saves you buying more next time!  Now all you have to do is enjoy the great tasting veg that you’ve grown.