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Starting a vegetable garden over a bank holiday weekend

By Grow Your Own magazine
22nd May 2024

If you’ve been dreaming of growing your own vegetable garden, why not use this bank holiday weekend to make it a reality? Read this handy guide to starting a vegetable garden over a bank holiday weekend from Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express who goes through everything from planning to execution

Planning your Vegetable Garden

The first step to putting together a vegetable garden is deciding which part of your outdoor space to use. For this, you’ll need to think not only about how much space is available but also about the growing conditions in different areas. For example, which part of your garden receives the most light? If you’re planting directly into the ground, will the soil support the plants properly?

Once you know where you’ll be planting, it’s time to decide what you’ll be planting. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your plants:

1. Which plants will grow well under these growing conditions?

2. What are your personal preferences for fruits and veggies?

3. How much space will the plants have to grow?

Here are some ideas for what to plant in different light conditions:

Full sun: Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers

Light shade: Rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants

Shade: Broccoli, salad leaves, cabbage

Now you know what you’re growing, you can consider how you’ll arrange the plants. When working on the layout of your vegetable garden, consider how much room each individual plant will need. You should also bear in mind the different water requirements of each plant; grow plants with similar water requirements near each other to avoid overwatering some or underwatering others.

Starting the Prep Work

There’s some preparation to be done before you start setting up your vegetable garden. Firstly, clear the area of any items or debris that shouldn’t be there. This could be rubbish, dead leaves, or old plants that can be moved elsewhere.

If you’re planning on planting directly into the ground, get to work removing weeds and levelling out the soil. You could use tools or your hands to pull weeds out, just make sure there are as few as possible to be competing with your new plants. Take this opportunity to mix in any necessary soil amendments such as compost or sand to balance out your soil so that it better supports your vegetable plants.

Easy Set-Up Ideas
Looking for some ideas on how to make the most of your space? Here are my top tips:

Make use of borders: If you have some empty borders in your garden, they can make the perfect tucked-away vegetable patches. You’d be surprised what you can fit into the small border at the edge of your garden. For example, you could grow plants that need more vertical space such as tomatoes.

Set up a mini greenhouse: Using a mini greenhouse is the perfect space-saving tip for a vegetable garden. The stacked shelves will give you plenty of room to let your seeds and young plants establish before planting them out. You could also use them as a permanent home to grow smaller fruiting plants such as peppers.

Keep it simple with compost bags: Grow bags of compost are the perfect quick-and-easy vegetable garden set-up. All you need to do is cut some holes in the plastic and pop your plants in. The compost in grow bags will give your plants all the nutrients and support they need to thrive. This method is commonly used to grow tomatoes but can be used for loads of other foods such as courgettes and sweet peas. Your plants could either live in the grow bags or be transferred out once they’re big enough. Either way, this is a great way to make a quick start on a veggie garden.

Put together your own raised beds: A bank holiday weekend may not be enough prep time to make your ground suitable for planting. In this case, raised beds can really help you out. Some raised beds are very quick and simple to put together and provide you with plenty of room to grow different foods. They also allow you to use your preferred compost mix which could be much better quality than the soil in your garden.

Start Planting

Now for the fun part - planting up your new vegetable garden. There are two ways you could do this. Either you sow some seeds and start from scratch, or purchase some pre-grown vegetable plants. As we’re putting this garden together within a bank holiday weekend, I’d recommend buying some more established plants that you can plant out straight away.

To plant your veggies, place them into holes in the soil the same size as their nursery pots. Pat down the surrounding soil to make sure they’re nice and secure in their new homes. Give them a thorough watering to help them establish, and voila! You’ve started your own vegetable garden in a bank holiday weekend.

This is a sponsored post from Gardening Express. For more information visit

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