Setting up your Dig In patch
Make the most of even a tiny patch and you'll be surprised at how much of your own veg you'll be able to grow.
Search for the sun (1 of 8)
Veggies don't like growing in the shade - you'll get the best results from a growing patch which gets at least five hours sun a day.
Placing your patch away from other plants helps put off slugs, which can slither out from bushes and beds to attack your veg.
Dig In deep - payback comes later! (2 of 8)
Give your patch a good digging over to break up the soil and get rid of any weeds. Dig down to at least one spade depth - and a bit further if you can! Remove any bits of weed root or stem to stop them re-growing and take out as many stones as you can.
Only prepare the ground that you're going to plant up. Weeds will soon cover bare ground and it can be upsetting to see all your hard work undone.
Make your soil super (3 of 8)
Digging in a good load of compost will make so-so soil good and good soil great. Use garden compost if you have any, or bags of soil conditioner from the garden centre.
Manure is a great addition to any patch, but it must be already rotted or it'll be too strong for the plants. If your soil is quite shallow, you can deepen it by piling compost on top, or making raised beds.
Get to know your soil (4 of 8)
Take a look at a handful of your soil. Does it look sandy or is it mostly clay?
Clay soils are fertile, but very heavy and wet. Adding some 'horticultural grit' from the garden centre can help break them up. Sandy soils are usually easy to dig, but aren't very fertile and don't hold much water. Add plenty of compost or manure to improve these soils.
Don't cramp your plants (5 of 8)
Plants hate being crowded and will be weak and small if they haven't got enough space.
As a rough guide, leave about 20cm around a row of salad leaves, 35cm around a row of carrots and 45cm around a row of beans. Courgettes will need 75cm to one metre for each per plant
Don't forget to give your beans something to climb, like a stake or trellis.
Onwards and upwards (6 of 8)
French beans need to climb and will wrap themselves around anything they can reach, so they're the perfect plant to put next to a house or garden wall.
Planting beans is a good way of using a spot that's shady at ground level, but sunny a bit higher, because they will grow toward the light. Beans can easily get a metre and a half tall, and have pretty flowers, so they'll look good, too.
Go potty (7 of 8)
Don't feel that everything has to be planted in the ground! Some plants will be happier growing in pots indoors - especially basil, which comes from the sunny Mediterranean.
Start off tender seedlings indoors in pots too, as conditions outdoors will be too harsh to sow direct until summer. It's worth trying a large pot of salad leaves indoors or in a sheltered spot for an early crop.
Hey, good looking! (8 of 8)
Lots of veg - like the Dig In courgette and French beans - have pretty flowers, so try to grow them where they can easily be seen. You could plant some flowers among the veg, French marigolds are particularly good because as well as looking pretty they discourage pests. Or why not slip a few veg into your flowerbeds? The frilly foliage of carrots or yellow blooms of courgettes would make a pretty and tasty addition to the flower bed.