How to Grow Your Own Delicious Produce

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There's something truly wonderful about planting a tiny seed, watching it grow into a healthy plant and then harvesting the produce to feed your family.
The sense of achievement and satisfaction will leave you beaming, and hopefully those around you, too.
Yes, you might have to put in a bit of work, but the rewards are well worth it - you'll be out in the fresh air, you'll be getting some exercise, you'll be learning something new and enjoying food that's been grown just as you want it to be.
But if the whole idea of growing your own appeals but seems a little daunting, it needn't be.
Once you've got your ground prepared, get yourself some seeds and you'll soon be enjoying delicious home-grown fruit and veg, and wondering why you didn't start years ago.
Getting started Assuming you're already lucky enough to have your own plot, be it a council-run allotment or a veggie patch in your garden, then other than having a few basic bits of kit, all you'll need to get things started is good old-fashioned hard work - and some decent weather wouldn't go amiss, either! But before you go rushing off with fork in hand, it's essential to have a planting plan, even if it's only provisional, especially if you're new to this 'growing your own' game.
You'll need to have an idea of what you want to grow (it's best to choose things you know the family will eat) and the whats and wherefores of how to go about it.
Keep it simple to begin with and once you've tasted success, move on to more adventurous crops and introduce fruit and veg you fancy growing rather than just sticking to the more traditional types.
Follow instructions on the back of the seed packet for specific planting conditions.
Perfect plot Chances are you'll need to prepare the ground before you start planting.
If you put in the groundwork now, you'll definitely reap the benefits, so as you get down to digging, think of the pleasure you'll get when you're tucking into your own fresh produce.
The most important job is to get rid of the weeds as they'll be fighting your fruit and veg for water, nutrients and space.
It's best to dig them out by hand, getting as much of the root out as possible, as using a rotavator simply chops up the roots.
For annual weeds, this doesn't cause a problem, but for perennial weeds like dandelions, each piece of root can make a new plant, so instead of getting rid of them, you're just making more! Once you've dug the plot over and got rid of as many weeds as possible, it's worth adding some well-rotted compost to improve the condition of the soil - this will not only boost the structure but give your seeds and plants a head start.
It's also a good idea to apply a fertiliser to increase the nutrient content for your hungry soon-to-be veggies.
For organic gardeners, incorporate a balanced general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bones about two weeks before you sow any seeds, and for traditionalists, try inorganic Growmore.
The final step to seed-ready soil is raking so you get a fine, crumbly tilth (top layer of soil).
Remove any stones and you're all set.
Happy sowing and growing!
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