Discover the joy of…
Grow your own vegetables
As a society we’re growing ever more conscious of what we’re eating and where it’s come from. To really embrace a healthy lifestyle growing your own vegetables is a must.
You’ll really appreciate that the flavours are richer, you can be sure your crops are organic and the physical activity of gardening and allotment keeping is so beneficial.
There really isn’t much that can compare to the satisfaction of harvesting and serving your own produce.
It’s always worth experimenting with what you choose to grow each year, but for those of you who are starting out here’s our top 3 vegetable and salad leaves to take on this year!
Cut and Come Again
It’s exactly what it says on the tin. Lettuce that you can cut what you need and more leaves will sprout again. By harvesting the young leaves you prevent the plant from maturing, creating a longer period to pick small, tender and mild flavoured leaves.
This is a great way of ensuring you always have a fresh crop and minimising food wastage.
Summer cultivars – pick between late May and end of October.
Winter cultivars – pick between October and April.
Spinach is a versatile leafy vegetable that falls in the “cut and come again” category and better yet this vitamin packed leaf can be grown all year round.
Firstly dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter such as compost and fertiliser, this will ensure good growth if grown from seed. You can sow summer cultivars every few weeks from February, but this will require using fleece or cloches to protect the seedlings.
As the seedlings grow make sure to keep them well watered during dry periods in summer or if you’re growing winter cultivars make sure to protect them from October onwards, depending on how mild your area is.
Birds are a problem so keep your seedlings covered with netting or fleece!
Top tip – To prevent the leaves from lasting bitter make sure the soil contains plenty of organic mater.
Beetroot is an easy to grow root vegetables that is known to be full of antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals.
Beetroots prefer to be grown in moist, fertile soil in a sunny spot. They’re an ideal crop for those of you who are looking to fill a raised bed or container, just make sure they’re well-watered, especially during dry periods. Thin out to leave one seedling per 10cm (4 inch).
90 days after sowing your beetroots will be ready to harvest, or when the roots are between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball depending on the variety.
Try Boltardy which is super-reliable and very tolerant of weather extremes. Good resistance to ‘bolting’.
Top tip – Beetroot leaves also fall into the “cut and come again” category making them multi use!
Harvest time – approximately 8 – 10 weeks after planting
Cabbage requires a soil Ph of 6.5-7 which can be achieved by adding Lime to the soil, along with a lot of organic matter.
Choose a sunny location that has been firmed down flat. You can do this by shuffling along the surface on your heels, then rake the surface before planting.
Unlike tomatoes cucumbers, aubergines and other short rooted plants, cabbages are not suitable for growing in a growbag.
Harvest cabbage when they heads are firm when squeezed. Cut through the stem just above ground level with a sharp knife.
Keep an eye out for slugs and snails that feed on the young seedlings!
Try Savoy Cabbage, they need a frost on them to form a better flavour.
Top tip – Cabbages or other brassicas should not be grown in the same soil that they were grown in the previous year.