Organic Home Grown Vegetables. The Potager

The Joy of Vegetable growing.


No, the title is not an oxymoron. There is real joy in planting a vegetable plot and then harvesting the produce for the family table or to sell for extra income. The size of the plot doesn't have to be big and with the rise in apartment dwelling even those with limited space can grow lots of vegetables in pots. Nothing beats the taste of freshly dug new potatoes or peas straight off the vine. Many countries have a system of Allotments, plots of land set aside for citizens to rent at nominal fees. This is not complete guide to Vegetable growing but a brief outline to get you started.

Veggie Gardening par Exellence

A Beautiful English Allotment Garden
A Beautiful English Allotment Garden
Fresh Garden Produce
Fresh Garden Produce
Veggie Plots can be beautiful.
Veggie Plots can be beautiful.
Another Productive Garden.
Another Productive Garden.
Even in winter the Garden can be Productive........All Photos courtesy Flickr.
Even in winter the Garden can be Productive........All Photos courtesy Flickr.

Getting Started with Vegetable Growing

Allotments are fun and allow a little home from home in a convivial atmosphere. Most allotments have a shed. Many started up during WWII with the "Dig for victory" campaign. My early memories included visits to my Granddad's allotment where with much giggling we would hide away and he would have a smoke away from my Nan's disapproving looks. Swaps of surplus vegetables, left over seeds, bags of well rotted dung with neighboring plot holders all added to the pleasure of the Allotment way of life.

If you have no plot set aside for vegetables, it may be wise to consider raised beds. This way you can start small and add extra beds as needed. Raised beds are better in many ways as it is easier for elderly or disabled people to attend to their vegetables without bending and can give wheelchair access. Plots should be sited with maximum sunshine. Vegetables need sunshine to grow.Some vegetables like pole beans can be grown up sticks so taking up less room.

Make a list of your or your families favorite vegetables, bearing in mind that some vegetables may need years to become established like asparagus or globe artichokes. Some of these vegetables look good in flower garden too. If you are starting from scratch in bare uncultivated ground, potatoes are usually the first thing to plant as they break up the ground and make it easier to turn over. Select a place for a compost heap where vegetable waste and garden waste may be composted as nutrients will be needed to produce good crops. The importance of composting cannot be over emphasised in good garden practice Not only do they save room in your garbage can but they give free valuable compost for your garden.

The best time of year to start your garden is in the Spring when the growing season for your Zone is due to start. These Zones vary across the country and give you the length of growing season, Consult the Internet to find out when yours begins. Make sure the earth is turned over and raked to a fine tilth. Mark out your rows so that seedlings may be spotted easily and a hoe can be used between the rows. Second hand Gardening tools may be found for sale on Craigslist or often in Thrift shops. I have found that cheap new garden tools are not a great saving as they do not last. My spade, fork and garden trowel are stainless steel and slide easily in the ground I have been using them for over thirty years and they are still as good as new. I treasure them and keep them bright. They were such a great investment.

Buy good quality seed or get a head start by buying plants ready started in little pots but take care when decanting them as the main stem is very vulnerable where it leaves the soil. The lay out of your Potager, the French word of Veggie Plot can be very beautiful especially if you have a section for useful herbs. Hardy herbs can be perreial in most districts and are useful in the kitchen with their fresh flavor. Again I usually grow mine in flower beds near the kitchen. Basil being tender often does well on the kitchen window sill.

The best animal manure to use is well rotted horse manure, cow is not so good and chicken needs to be mixed with a lot of straw and well rotted. A large English garden attached to a Stately home has added a straw bale for male gardeners to pee onto, when saturated the bale is added to the compost heap. This is not only inconvenient for the female gardeners but their Pee is too acid! Most people want an organic garden these days which precludes artificial fertilizer, however a well managed garden with a compost heap should keep up its fertility. Another way is to use green fertilizer, seeds of cress are planted and allowed to grow a little and are then dug into the soil.

With careful planning It is possible to supply your kitchen for large periods of the year with great fresh vegetables There are many inexpensive books to help you get started. It is both fun and healthy. Enjoy!

Organic Gardening

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Comments 16 comments

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub. Great video. Thanks.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks for visiting Micky. Glad you liked it.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Last year Tricia produced a marrow that cost about £5 by the time she'd added up the grow bag, plant and fertiliser.

Pat bought 15 tomato plants at a church sale and was heartily sick of tomatoes by September.

This year we are aiming for more economy AND variety.

Good Hub - thanks.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Ha ha! that is where barter enters the picture which is so easy on the allotments. How did you end up cooking that precious marrow?


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 6 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

I can imagine that growing the food you eat would not just taste better because of the natural process involved, but also because of the satisfaction you feel when you have success.

I love this idea, and look forward to growing some vegetables, (my favorite being potato - lucky that's first on the list!) when I have a place to grow them. I may put some planters on my patio though. How much soil does a potato need to grow?

Is there such a thing as a winter garden?


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Absolutely there is a winter garden. Obviously the tender summer vegetables don't survive but things like swedes and parsnips do. You can grow potatoes in pots and tomatoes in very little space. Sunshine is the key to success, if you have a south facing balcony you are home and dry. You will have to arrange a watering system like wine bottles filled with water and stuck in the earth in the pots. It is so hot in Sacramento! Hope you have settled in well. Thanks for dropping by.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Hi again Angel Face. I so envy people who can grow their own vegetables, but being a supremely lazy sod, I can never get myself to act on my best intentions :-)


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

My grandmother always had a potato patch in her garden......... well, it was really grandpa's garden; Gran only paid attention to the potatoes; she thought they were FUN! I've always thought it would be fun, but have never planted them, and have admittedly not had a garden for awhile.

I may try the potatoes in a pot. Can't hurt!

Thank you,

Kaie


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Dimitris, even you could buy a potted tomato and care for it!. empty a wine bottle, methinks you could manage that! fill it with water and stick it in the pot, this will last for quite a while slowly watering the plant, harvest and enjoy. You will find a recipe for green tomato marmalade amongst my hubs if they don't ripen at the end of the season. Have fun, thanks for dropping by. PS you will have to refill the bottle from time to time!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Kaie, potatoes freshly dug from the garden are my favorite too. Give it a try. Involve your children if they are young. kids love growing things. Thanks for stopping by.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

Really loved this. I used to so enjoy growing vegetables when we has a big garden, but that was years ago.

You make me want to try again even though I don't have much space nowadays.

Thanks for a great hub.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Dim, lots of people grow vegetables in pots these days. Worth a try! Nice to see you as always. xx


container vegetable gardening 5 years ago

Some good tips is here Gypsy. I wonder if the allotment plots work in other countries...


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

I really should look into that as I don't know the answer. Thanks for dropping by CVG.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

The photos you've provided in this hub provide plenty of motivation to get growing! It's the time of year to be planning that spring garden.

Voted up and SHARED.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks L.L. Woodard thanks for the kind comment. Sorry I have been busy in the garden and missed it earlier! Thanks also for the vote up and share. Happy planting!

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