grow your ownSpring is here and the longer days and warmer weather provide the ideal time to start thinking about the edible garden. With dining in more popular than ever and more of us wanting to know the provenance of our food, lots of us are deciding to flex our green fingers and grow our own produce for the table.

There’s nothing more satisfying that growing your own. Home grown vegetables are much easier to produce than you might think. Even with the minimum amount of equipment and space, you can grow all sorts of delicious foods. It’s important to grow things that you like and that you have a plot in mind that offers some sunshine – even if it’s your front garden or an apartment balcony! Beetroot, squashes and even peas can look great in an ornamental garden so don’t be afraid to use any space you have.

Choose vegetables that are easy to grow such as carrots, potatoes and runner beans. They don’t need specialist care and will help to grow your confidence rather than put you off. Salad leaves such as lettuce, rocket or mizuna are incredibly easy to grow and are ready within the space of a few weeks.

You don’t need huge amounts of space to grow your own veg. Potatoes will flourish in a big compost bag with a few holes cut into the side. Squash can be trailed over a pergola or up a trellis. Runner beans only need a largish pot and a wigwam of tall canes. If you live in an apartment, plant herbs and salad leaves in window boxes or you could even make a feature of strawberries by planting them in hanging baskets on a balcony and allowing them to trail over the edge!

Try to stagger when your plants will be ready to harvest so that you have a range of produce to enjoy. For example, sow a few rows of radishes or rocket salad leaves and then wait a week and plant some more. It means you’ll have a constant supply rather than wasting food.

Good soil is really important for your plants. In a small space, use grow bags from your local garden centre which will contain all the nutrients required. Alternatively, if you’re using a plot in the garden, the soil can be improved easily with a little manure or ideally start composting!

Growing vegetables from seed is much easier than you think and more importantly, it can be cheaper! Crops such as salad leaves, beetroot and carrots are fairly simple to grow and the satisfaction you gain from starting from scratch is fantastic.

It is true that home grown vegetables taste so much better! Spinach, peas, beans and salad leaves are more vibrant and contain more nutrients straight from the earth.

Seeds can take time to germinate so be patient. Sweetcorn for example takes weeks to sprout. Keep tender seedlings such as tomatoes or courgettes in a greenhouse or sunny window sill until they are big enough to survive outside.

Take care to water at regular intervals as irregular watering leads to vegetables splitting allowing pest and diseases to take hold and ruining the appearance.

 

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