Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Planning ahead is the key to a bountiful vegetable garden

If you want to be the envy of your block this summer with a range of delicious vegetables , you should be starting your first steps towards creating your vegetable patch now.

First-time gardeners must ensure that their patch is small to start with, as July should find people wishing they had made their garden larger rather than looking in disgust at the weed-filled empty spaces.

Those looking for tips on how to dress up their garden in a particular theme or style might want to head to the 3rd annual Amelia Island Garden Show, which will roll out nature’s brightest colors for two days on March 3rd and 4th at Central Park, Florida.

One of the most exciting exhibitions on show at the event will be the Silver Springs African Violets, which will return as a vendor of African violets and dandy pots.

The African violet is a six species group of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family of Gesneriaceae, which is native to Tanzania. The formal name of the plant is Saintpaulia, although it is normally known as African violet due to its superficial resemblance to true violets. This herbaceous plant is great for the garden, or even indoors where it can provide plenty of color to your home.


Once you’ve headed to the Amelia Garden Show and got all the hot tips for how to make your garden as presentable as possible, that’s when the hard work begins.

According to Master Gardener at Penn State Extension, Frank Sommer,one of the biggest decisions to make is where the garden is to be located.

Vegetables need to have at least six hours of direct sun each day so it would be advisable to put the patch near a water source. He also suggested that part of an ornamental garden could be used for the new vegetable patch as the soil will already be in great condition for planting.

Removing sod is a difficult and laborious task that can be made easier by following a few simple steps. Cover the area with a layer of corrugated cardboard approximately ten sheets thick and then water the layers to settle it on the sod.

Then place a three-inch layer of mulch over the cardboard, which will help make the task in spring much easier than it previously would have been.

At this time of the year, you should be deciding what plants to put into the patch.  If you are a  first-time gardener you might want to think about a salad garden, or for the more adventurous and green-fingered among us, you might want to go for something different or challenging. Whatever you decide, now is the time to start planning.