Hints & Tips
Nothing beats the taste of fresh vegetables from your own garden!
And if you don’t have your own plot, now’s the time to start work preparing one. You can start sowing the first salads this month.
In this MowBlog edition, we talk about some basic garden advice on soil preparation to ensure success growing anything from Brassicas to root vegetables like parsnips and potatoes. A successful vegetable garden starts with good soil preparation,ready in time for when to plant.
1. Best home vegetables by tilling a perfect allotment
If you have a previously tilled section of the garden that you want to turn over to vegetables or a herb garden, simply dig the soil all over, making sure you remove all the deep-rooted weeds.
If you had previously been growing your own vegetables in
this plant bed, some strays from last year’s root crops can also be hiding in the earth, such as potatoes and beets, make sure you get these all out.
But if the soil is very heavy you might want to double dig it at the same time. Take out a trench a spade’s depth and then dig over the ground at the bottom, again to a spade’s depth, to ensure good drainage and soil structure.
2. Apply compost and remove weed roots
If you have a good supply of compost, add it to the trench before filling it in as this will help retain moisture in the dry summer months.
When you replace the soil previously taken out, hoe it over, adding a little general purpose fertilizer as you do so. The crop rotation principle provides you the best practices to replace your soil and grow your next vegetables.
Adopting a crop rotation will not only improve soil quality but also avoid plant diseases. It’s well worth taking some time coming up with a garden plan, taking in time growing seasons for various plants and when to seed.
If you have a new plot which was previously part of your lawn, take off the grass and roots with a sharp spade and stack it grass side up. It will rot, break down and make an excellent compost.
As before, remove all the weed roots you can and add well-rotted garden compost.
3. Till your lawn surface to plant your own vegetables
a. A Small Petrol rotary tiller from Bertolini
Then till the surface over with something like this, the Bertolini BT155 Small Petrol Rotary Tiller (Emak Engine), Italian engineered and with a tilling width of 46 cm.
This means that it can also be used on flower and herb beds as well as shrubberies where it is small enough to turn over the soil around hardy annuals and shrubs. This can be useful, if like me you have some fruit trees that you want work and plant around.
It costs only £319.00, £36 off the maker’s recommended plots.
b. The heavy-duty Bertolini Two-Wheel Rotary Cultivator
Like all good little machines it has a big brother, the Bertolini BT401S Two-Wheel Rotary Cultivator (Honda Engine) with a 50 cm tilling width, the sort of heavy-duty machine you need for a larger plot or allotment.
This has crop protection discs so you can till between the rows of vegetables without chopping through growing plants. Perfect to protect fragile or sprouting plants like cucumbers and tomatoes.
A front wheel which tilts up when the machine is being used makes it easier to move around – like when the neighbor decides he would like to borrow it!
This one costs £1,799, £220 off the recommended retail price, and comes with it 50cm Rotary Tiller and Cultivator. Both have free next working day delivery.
4. Our advice to use a tiller
Don’t worry if you’ve never had a tiller before, they are dead easy to use.
Once fired up just lift the dead man’s handle and the tines will start to revolve, dragging the machine along at a comfortable slow walking pace.
And if you do happen to lose control and release the dead man’s handle the engine will instantly cut out, so there’s no worry about it trundling along and into the next plot!
See these pages on our site for a full list of cultivators and tillers and give us a ring on 020 3026 8712 if you need any more information.
We also have tons of gardening advice and tips to ensure success in planting a garden, from growing herbs to growing your own food and garden plans.