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How to Make a Garden Vegetable Plot Cheaply

Updated on October 21, 2015
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I love gardening, garden design, learning gardening techniques and photographing plants. I was a member of the Royal Horticultural Society.

My Path to Building a Garden Vegetable Plot

I started gardening fifty years ago when we moved into our house which had a very unkempt infertile back garden - it looked as though it had never been touched.

There were no flowers or shrubs, and the whole area was just grass, growing on uneven ground. It was fine for children running around playing, or for sunbathing on deckchairs, but it was totally unproductive. All that was about to change - read here how it developed. And you can do the same, at very little cost.

This is a good beginner's project.

Vegetable Plot in my Garden

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What was the Turning Point?

Over the years, in order to to break up the London clay which was as hard as iron, and very difficult to dig, the garden was fed with

  • Manure
  • More manure and then
  • Sand

Bit by bit we worked on the garden and nursed it into some semblance of beauty, well-stocked with mature plants.

Roses do quite well in clay, but not much else.

Occasionally I planted a few odd vegetables, and I began to see how much the plants benefitted from decent treatment such as finding the right conditions for them, and feeding well.

You Need a Good Garden Fork and Spade to Dig Your Garden - These ones look great

Brook & Hunter Combo-DY-3D Premium 3-Piece Combo Kit With Stainless Steel Alloy Polished Shovel, Fork & Spade With Hand Crafted Red Oak Handles
Brook & Hunter Combo-DY-3D Premium 3-Piece Combo Kit With Stainless Steel Alloy Polished Shovel, Fork & Spade With Hand Crafted Red Oak Handles

These ones should cover every eventuality - a sharp pointed shovel to get into difficult places, a spade to dig a spit or row and a fork to turn over the soil. Lovely wooden handles.

 

The Birth of a Garden Vegetable Plot

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Progressing Slowly - The makings of a beautiful garden

We knocked down our air-raid shelter (most London gardens had one at that time), and we hit upon the notion of using the rubble to build a rockery. Not very glamorous, but, facing forward, and hidden with plants, the rocks looked almost natural.

Only part of the garden border was really sunny, the rest being in partial shade, and, through lack of knowledge, I lost a lot of plants which desired full sun and failed to flourish in half-shade or full shade.

Gradually I learnt to follow planting instructions instead of making it up as I went along, and the results, if not spectacular, were at least rewarding.

I tried in a desultory fashion to grow the occasional vegetable, without much success. Then, on my retirement, I went at it hammer and tongs, or shall we say shovel and prongs!

My vegetable patch was born!

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The Basics of Growing Vegetables

This is a wide subject, and whole books are written about it, so here you will find just some general instructions

I am not going into great detail about this, and if you need more specialized information, you may need to do a little research yourself. So this section will just give you an overview of what it is that you need to know.

  • For a productive vegetable patch, you need good well-nourished soil, free of stones and weeds.
  • Digging and feeding virgin soil is very hard work, and there are tilling machines which do the job, but if there isn't one available, you just have to dig over the area yourself, to the depth of your spade, and a little deeper if possible.
  • Then you mix in sand and manure with the earth and, if the soil still doesn't break up easily, add some potting compost and rotted organic material to enrich it.
  • Keep chopping it all up, mixing it and exposing it to the weather and turning it over, until the earth feels crumbly and breaks up.

A Must Have Book About Vegetable Growing - You need to look things up if you don't know how to do things

How To Grow Organic Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs and Flowers: The complete guide to cultivating a productive and beautiful garden the natural way, with 800 step-by-step photographs
How To Grow Organic Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs and Flowers: The complete guide to cultivating a productive and beautiful garden the natural way, with 800 step-by-step photographs

This book is comprehensive and will help you to learn about plant requirements including soil preparation, propogating, planting, and weather requirements. You won't go wrong if you have this great reference book

 

Runner Beans With Their Red Flowers Look Good Against a Wall or Fence

Here Runner Beans are Growing in a Mixed Flower Bed  (This photo was taken at night)
Here Runner Beans are Growing in a Mixed Flower Bed (This photo was taken at night) | Source

Plant your seeds or small plants in rows -

  • Allow sufficient space between them for you to be able to walk along without treading on any plants, to enable you to do weeding and harvesting. I use paving stones to make a rustic pathway between oblong blocks of planting; others use planks, or just a rough pathway.
  • Follow the instructions on the seed packets or from books or the internet, to make sure that you give your seeds the best chance of survival.
  • Choose your siting of specific types of vegetables carefully. Some plants will grow in semi-shade, such as beans and cabbage, but most other vegetables need sunshine as a basic requirement. You would find it helpful to draw a plan of your vegetable patch, marking out which plants you are going to plant where. You also need to plant them in the right season and temperature, and some plants need to be started off indoors or under glass, to give them a good start.
  • They also need regular watering to prevent the little seedlings drying out and, as they develop, they need to be fed with plant food.
  • Some rather spindly plants such as tomatoes and peppers need to be staked to prevent them toppling over, or being blown over by wind.
  • Some plants are prone to specific pests, such as cabbage flies, slugs and snails, and others are prone to rust and other fungal diseases. Tomatoes sometimes suffer from rot, which you can recognize because the tomatoes develop and then, instead of turning red, they start turning brown and become unusable.

Runner Bean Flowers

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Just look at those red flower close-up!

Runner Beans are what I call good value plants:

  • they grow nearly as fast as the ones in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, germinating in a couple of days after planting;
  • they don't take up a lot of space width-wise, so you can put them at the back of a border, climbing up canes
  • they have a profusion of pretty red flowers which bloom in sequence from about June to October.
  • The flowers are replaced by attractive pendant bean pods two or three weeks after the flowers have appeared. and they are quite happy growing in part-shade, so you can save your sunny patch for heat-seeking plants.

Runner Beans Growing Outside my Garden

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In the photo above, you can see those dainty scarlet flowers in perspective, waving in the breeze.

I planted some runner beans in the garden, and then, bubbling with enthusiasm, I planted a few more plants up a fence just beyond the perimeter of my garden, relying on the fact that they weren't doing any harm, and looked a lot better than the brambles that were previously there, so the land-owner should not be too upset, if they did happen to notice (naughty-naughty!).

You Might Like The Shopping Bag below - from my Zazzle Shop Glorious Confusion

Source

Poll About Growing Your Own Vegetables - How do you match up to other pollsters? Take the Poll!

Marrow
Marrow | Source

Growing Your Own Vegetables - How do you match up to other pollsters? Take the Poll Below

Some people take to gardening like a butterfly takes to buddleia. Are you one of them?

Have you tried growing vegetables?

Poll About Growing Your Own Vegetables

See results

What do you think about growing vegetables? Leave Your Comment Here

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Oh, how I wish I had your patience and green thumb! I would like to try my hand at growing vegetables but I'm not very good at gardening. We did have a vegetable plant this year which produced exactly 3 tomatoes. LOL I think the drought may have been a contributing factor.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      This hub is looking good and appeals very nicely to the eye.

      It is spring here in NZ now.

      Started preparing the garden for growing, little early though as we have a very cold front going over at the moment, it is 2.30 pm and the temperature is only 7 degrees, a little cold yet to start young plants and the seeds will get washed into the ground with this ice bergs ( big hail stones),that are falling from the sky. Still looking forward to growing those vegetables when it gets warmer.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Really helpful for those wishing to start growing their own vegetables.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 3 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I will be starting from scratch this spring.

    • MayaIxchel profile image

      MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      I really like this lens. I am trying to improve my garden, it needs much help . . . but living in the 'land of eternal spring' doesn't hurt. Thanks for the great info!

    • sibian profile image

      sibian 5 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing

    • dave-sutton profile image

      dave-sutton 5 years ago

      My six year old grand daughter was fascinated when she found potatoes growing in our compost heap. With her help I have just finished a vegetable plot and starting to reap the benefit of new potatoes, radishes and strawberries. I have never done anything like this before and find it very rewarding, your lens will be a great help.

      Thanks

    • Kenken99 LM profile image

      Kenken99 LM 6 years ago

      Super informative! Awesome lens!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Returning to tell you that this lens has been 'featured on' and 'lensrolled to' my "SquidAngel Blessings by an Elf" lens. :-)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      My hubby used to enjoy what he liked to call a small 'Victory Garden', with a few tomatoes and occasional other vegetables, but I'm not much of a gardener. :) This is such a well presented story about your vegetable gardening experiences and much deserving of a ~~SquidAngel Blessing~~