10 Top Tips for a Successful Veg Plot

We’ve got a few ideas to share with you that will help you to make the most out of your kitchen garden this summer. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Improve your soil and your crops will improve too. By adding loads of nutritious, organic matter (well-rotted manure, good quality compost, leaf mould etc) to your soil you will help to improve both its texture, its moisture retention and the amount of nutrients it holds. And all this helps your plants to put down roots well and get what they need from the soil in order to really flourish. Read more on this here.
  2. Use wooden planks for walkways. If you don’t have easy access to all the rows of veg in your garden, then we highly recommend getting a few wooden planks to use as walkways between the rows. This is so important to make sure you don’t compact the soil so that your plants’ roots can spread easily (it also helps to keep weeds down and stops your wellies from getting clogged up with soil!)
  3. Make sure you water regularly. Unless it has rained, then your plants will be quite thirsty. A generous watering on a daily basis will benefit most plants, but if you can’t manage this make sure you give them a really thorough soaking every 2-3 days. A good way to check that you are watering enough is to prod your finger into the soil – it should be moist right the way through, not just on top. It’s best to water early in the morning or late in the evening.
  4. Plants in pots need more nutrition. Add a couple of handfuls of fresh compost or liquid feed to plants growing in pots every 3-4 weeks to top up their nutrients. Most compost will be depleted of its nutrients within a month of being applied, so when you’re growing in pots it is sometimes hard for plants to get what they need.
  5. Grow lots of companion plants. One of the very best ways to keep pests down is to attract lots of friendly insects (natural predators like ladybirds and lacewings will keep things like aphids at bay) by planting marigolds. You can also plant nasturtiums to keep caterpillars away from your brassicas. And, all these have the added benefit of attracting bees which will pollinate your veg plants and lead to a better crop! Read more on companion planting.
  6. Use horticultural fleece. Honestly, we can’t tell you how helpful it is to use horticultural fleece in the veg patch. It can help you to protect your plants from frost early in the season, it can help you to warm up the soil nicely after a cold snap, and it can help keep all sorts of pests away from your crops. Trust us, we’re gardeners!
  7. Harvest regularly. If you want to keep your crops going for longer, then be sure to harvest them regularly. As soon as your crops are ready you should be constantly picking beans and peas, harvesting tomatoes and peppers as soon as they ripen, cutting off the outer leaves of lettuces, spinach and chard – you’ll get much longer harvesting time if you do!
  8. Be clever with storing produce. Going on from no. 7, if you’re harvesting loads from your veg patch then you don’t want to waste it…remember that you can freeze things like beans, make sauces or chutneys from tomatoes and peppers, concoct flavoursome butters and oils with your herbs and so on.
  9. Mulch. It’s such a good idea to apply a mulch as it helps the quality of the soil, it helps to regulate the temperature of the soil, it keeps moisture levels nice and consistent and helps to keep weeds down. Please mulch!
  10. Don’t put diseased plants in the compost. You can put nearly all the cuttings, pruning and cleared down veg plants on the compost heap, but be careful not to add diseased plants (e.g. potato plants with blight or courgette leaves with powdery mildew) as the “germs” will live on in the compost and infect future crops when you use the compost!