Ask someone to picture the absolutely quintessential cottage and they’ll almost certainly conjure up images of a charming rustic...
What makes a great garden? Swathes of bright, fragrant flowers? A tranquil water feature, perhaps? Or an emerald lawn that stretches as far as the eye can see? Whatever your opinion on horticulture, we think that any great garden just isn’t complete without a good old veggie patch.
Since humankind began, we’ve been blooming good at growing stuff- just ask Titchmarsh. But in recent times, vegetable patch numbers have dwindled, replaced by convenient, cheap produce from the supermarket. A real shame, no doubt about it, but all is not lost.
This week is National Allotments Week, an event which encourages allotment sites across the country to open their gates to allow the public to witness the benefits of growing their own fresh produce. Throughout the week, plot holders will be putting on a range of fun events, including garden parties, barbecues and food markets, with plenty of fresh produce to sample! To find out more about the National Allotment Week events taking place in your area, click here.
In honour of NAW 2014, we wanted to champion the veggie patch by letting our green-fingered property owners know just how easy it is to grow and maintain a vegetable patch. Many of our cottages already have a plot of earth dedicated to growing wholesome, home grown produce, but to those that don’t, here’s a brief guide on how to get started.
Step 1: Choosing the perfect spot for your patch
Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least five hours of sunlight a day. Veggies hate the dark, so it’s crucial that you keep them out of the shade.
Top tip: Dig your patch well away from other foliage such as trees and shrubs. This will prevent pesky slugs snacking on your hard-fought crop.
Step 2: Put your back into some serious digging
Bust up your patch by digging down at least a spade’s depth. This will give your plants a better chance of forming a good foothold, as well as oust any weeds which could attack the roots of your veg.
Top tip: Don’t go crazy. If your patch is too big, weeds will soon advance, rendering your patch useless. Plan what you want to plant and where before you start digging.
Step 3: Create your very own super soil
Now you’ve got your hole in the ground, you need to create the perfect environment for your veg. Dug earth is all well and good, but you’ll need to add compost to make it a haven for growth.
Top tip: Don’t be shy- adding manure can be a game changer for your patch. The nutritious value of cultivated poop far outweighs your opinion of this smelly substance, so get your hands dirty.
Step 4: It’s all about space
Like us, plants need their personal space. If your patch is lacking in room, your veg will grow to be weak and small rather than hearty and tall. Try to leave 20cm to 70 cm around each plant to make sure it has enough room to spread its wings.
Top tip: If you’re growing lanky plants like beans, don’t forget to give them a trellis or stake to climb so that they can reach for the stars.
Step 5: You don’t need a garden to grow your own patch
Think you need to be lord of the manor to grow a successful veggie patch? Think again. Some of the best produce plots can be found in green houses, balconies, terraces and, believe it or not, window sills. As a matter of fact, some plants, particularly those native to warmer climates, prefer growing indoors. So before you start sulking about the size of your garden, size up your sill, grab a few pots and start growing your own little patch today.
Here at Sykes Cottages, our owner care department is here to help with any and all queries you might have about managing your holiday home, whether it be advise about what to do in emergencies or, growing your own veggie patch! Whether you already advertise your property with us or not, our owner department are here to help, so give us a call today on 01244 356695 or visit our designated owner page for more information.