It is no surprise that ‘grow your own’ continues to surge in popularity. You can be 100% confident about where your food produce comes from and how it was grown, along with the incredible sense of satisfaction of picking and eating something you’ve lovingly grown yourself.
From large allotments to simple windowsill pots; vegetables, fruit, salad crops and herbs can be grown at any sort of scale. One ‘grow your own’ specialist, VegTrug, has designed a number of innovative growing systems to help increase the chances of success with your produce.
The original VegTrug is a 1.8m long, wooden raised bed planter.
Because the VegTrug is raised it is at a very comfortable working height, as opposed to gardening in the ground. This, in combination with its ‘V’ shape, makes it particularly wheelchair friendly. Wheelchair users are able to manoeuvre their knees underneath, which allows face on use instead of having to twist the body as you might with raised sleepers.
The VegTrug holds 7-8 bags of 60L compost, so there is certainly plenty of soil to play with, but the ‘V’ shape design means it requires less soil than a rectangular box. The shallower sides and deeper middle allow for drainage to a central point, along with greater aeration of the soil, which is beneficial for roots and young seedlings.
The opportunity to grow in fresh soil and compost, full of nutrients, is a huge boon for crop success – especially if you live in a poor soil area, e.g. heavy clay. Carrots, for example, particularly benefit from fluffy soil and no stones to hit.
The height is also a deterrent to a number of pests, like the carrot fly, that will not soar to the height of the VegTrug.
Given the ‘V’ shape and variation in soil depth, position vegetables such as carrots and potatoes in the middle and place salad and herb crops that don’t need such root depth around the outside.
Similar to the VegTrug, but designed with a flat back so it can be positioned up against a wall, shed or fence. The Wall Hugger is ideal for smaller spaces and can be located on a pathway or narrow area as long as it gets a reasonable amount of sunshine.
The Wall Hugger can be used for vertical growing with use of a trellis. This allows deeper rooting and climbing crops to be grown nearer the back where there is greater soil depth and herb and salad crops towards the front.
Cucumbers and runner beans at the back; lettuce, radishes, spring onions towards the front.
Herbs growing near the kitchen door bring the dual delights of scent and taste.
While mixed herbs grown in a pot look lovely, there is sometimes the issue of one aggressive type (we’re talking about you, mint) that tries to take over. The VegTrug Herb Garden combats this by having eight distinct compartments, each in individual bagged liners. This retains the root systems for each herb and means if one unfortunately dies, you only need to take out and redress the soil in that one area.
Soil and Watering
The ideal growing media for your own produce is a mixture of John Innes 2 or 3 with a good multi-purpose vegetable compost. This creates water-retaining soil at the bottom and softer, easier draining soil at the top.
Water the soil well initially. But, once the soil has retained water, it will only need watering every 2-4 days, depending on weather conditions.
For the first couple years of VegTrug use, you can get away with simply top dressing: take away the top 6 to 8 inches, redress with nice fresh compost and feed. Alternatively, you could grow plants during winter that will break down and mulch in during spring / summer.
By the 3rd year, it is advised to take everything out – both soil and liner – and start fresh. You would only need to do this sooner if any sort of bug or disease, such as vine weevil, manages to attack your plants.
Greenhouse Frame & PE Cover
Adding a Greenhouse Frame & PE Cover to the VegTrug means produce can be brought on earlier in the year. By turning the VegTrug into an effective greenhouse, you can grow 12 months of the year.
It is a little bit tragic when your carefully tended produce gets completely eaten before it gets anywhere near your own plate – brassicas, for example, can be very susceptible.
The VegTrug Micromesh Cover allows sunlight, water and liquid feed to come through, adds a bit of shade and keeps bugs out. It also prevents airborne weeds and seeds, keeping produce clean and fresh.
We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of nature around us, including protecting those creatures – such as bees – who’s populations are in such peril.
The triangular-shaped VegTrug Bee Bar fits in the legs of the VegTrug. Up to 400 bees can nest within the tubes. But, because of the tube size – 8mm diameter by 150mm length – it only attracts non-swarming solitary bees.
Not only is this great for our bee population, but these bees will then pollinate everything in the VegTrug much quicker so you can increase your crop yield – your own personal ecosystem.