3 Ways to improve your veg growing this year – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

This will be my ninth year of growing veggies in my plot, and over these last few years I have come to learn a few things. These would be my three top tips for improving your veg growing…

1 – Nourish the soil

I cannot emphasise this enough. The more nutritious your soil, the healthier your plants will be. Personally, I use the no-dig method of heavy mulching rather than digging in compost (more on that in the next point), but however you choose to grow, I would encourage you to feed your soil plenty of organic matter by either spreading or digging in well-rotted manure or compost.

In addition to this, use a good quality liquid feed during the growing season. It will make such a difference.  You can make your own by soaking nettles or comfrey leaves in a bucket of water, or you can use worm castings and mix that up in a full watering can, or you can buy something from the garden centre. Whatever you choose to do, actually feeding your plants on a regular basis (i.e weekly or fortnightly) during the summer months will give them a visible boost.

Don’t forget to keep plants well watered – there’s no point nourishing the soil if they can’t draw up the nutrients along with water from their roots!

2 – Mulch

Heavy mulching makes an enormous difference to how things grow – weeds are kept less prolific, the soil gets protected from wind, sun and frost, it keeps the temperature of the soil more consistent which is better for the plants’ roots, and it just makes sense to mimic nature by covering the soil’s surface with mulch rather than digging it over.

Personally, I use multipurpose compost to mulch with, and sometimes cover it with Strulch which you can buy in bulk. You could use homemade compost or very well-rotted manure as well. The nutrients from the mulch help the soil too as they get worked into the soil by worms and other soil dwellers.

3 – Provide warmth and shelter

I don’t think there is a single vegetable plant that won’t benefit from being grown in a nice, warm site that is sheltered from wind. My own garden, although it is south facing on a slope and gets plenty of sunshine, tends to get strong easterly winds when they come in, and the plants don’t like that at all. But for the most part, it is fairly sheltered being down in a small valley. I am also lucky to have a south-facing wall in a courtyard which is a great place to put pots and planters as the wall reflects back heat at night keeping plants really warm.

Whatever you can do to grow your plants in a warm and sheltered spot will really help them to thrive.