Reap the rewards of growing your own fruit and veg no matter the size of your garden.
There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to eat your own home grown produce and the good news is, there’s no better time of the year to start growing your own than now! With so many plants and crops able to be grown from seed there’s always something you can grow no matter how big your garden, or even with no garden at all. What you can grow depends on what is in season, the time that you want to invest and how much space you have to utilise.
Put your window ledge to good use by growing some veg on your ledge! A variety of baby salad leaves are perfect for window ledge growing in small pots or troughs as they’re very fast-growing and gives you year-round salad ingredients. Herbs such as parsley and coriander work well in the window and if your window sill gets a lot of warmth then basil works well too.
You don’t have to have a designated a vegetable plot – try creating an eclectic bed of vegetable plants amongst existing flowers to have beauty as well as productivity. Although not entirely conventional, this method of growing can be very organic with some taller flowers being useful for protecting your crops from caterpillars and other bugs.
Those with small courtyards or patios can use pots, bags and sacks to grow plants such as herbs – a cost effective way of getting a variety of different fresh herbs – and potatoes. Growing potatoes this way means there is a much lower risk of slug invasion.
Those lucky enough to have a larger garden can allocate a bit more designated space for growing. Greenhouses take the unpredictable British weather out of the equation to ensure you get a good harvest. Try planting tomatoes, chillies and maybe even grapes or melons. Ensure your greenhouse is cleaned at the beginning of the season before planting and that it is well ventilated once things begin to grow. Although greenhouses are considered a safe haven for tomatoes, ventilation is key to avoid losing them to blight.
Growing with kids
Encouraging children out into the garden is great for helping to build on their natural curiosity and for learning about where the food they’re eating comes from. It is also a fun way to change the minds of children who aren’t so fond of their fruit or vegetables when they know they’ve helped to make them themselves.
Cater for children by growing things that have a quick germination time. That way they won’t lose interest and will be able to quickly taste the fruits of their labour and enjoy the full ‘farm to fork’ experience. Start with the fast-growing cress which is ready to eat in less than 10 days! You can grow cress from an old egg shell or a yoghurt pot using just some kitchen roll and cotton wool. Children can also try growing radishes, lettuces and runner beans – think Jack and the Beanstalk to add some magic to your growing!
Always consider your soil type and the facing direction of your garden before dashing off to the garden centre as this will greatly impact on what will grow well in your garden. You also need to consider the varieties of seeds. Many will opt for the cheapest options when starting out, but it’s worth researching which types will have extra benefits and are more likely to survive – sometimes the pricier options will save you money in the long run.
The Gardener’s World website is a brilliant resource giving you hints, tips and even video tutorials on what to grow and where. Find out more online at: www.gardenersworld.com