If one of your New Year resolutions is to grow fruit and vegetables, take the time now to design the plot and you will reap the rewards in just a few months. I started six years ago with a blank canvas – just a patch of lawn divided into various spaces, including a vegetable garden. Separated from the rest of the garden by a hornbeam hedge and a trellis of espaliered apples, my vegetable plot is 11.3 x 5.3 metres, with an extra 3.7 metres square tagged onto the side to make it L-shaped. A greenhouse at the far end faces out over three long raised beds and a square bed to the side.
Raised beds neatly contain each growing space and can be surrounded by gravel to suppress weeds. You can buy raised-bed kits in timber, wood or recycled plastic; or make your own with timber sleepers at least 10cm thick (narrower timber tends to warp and buckle). My three main raised beds are 3.6 x 1.4 metres. This long, narrow configuration works well for many crops. Also I can kneel on either side to plant and weed without having to stand on the soil in the bed. The other bed is bigger at 2.4 x 2.6 metres, with more space for planting bulky crops, such as potatoes and pumpkins.
To maximise my growing space, I have added galvanised troughs (180 x 457 x 405cm) along the boundary fence to use for salad leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers. Compared with the allotment I had previously, my veg plot is not a huge space but, with some careful planning, I can produce a good succession of vegetables throughout the year.Read more on houseandgarden.co.uk