Grow your own fresh vegetables in your garden. Sowing vegetables from seed is an inexpensive way of raising healthy crops. Just follow this guide to raising easy crops packed with vitamins and minerals to top up your five-a-day.
Grow your own fresh veggies
We all know that vegetables are good for us, but growing your own allows you to pick them fresh from the garden, before any of those life-enhancing nutrients are lost. Raising veggies at home is also a fun activity for the whole family, especially young children. Make life easier by choosing crops that don’t take much time or effort to grow, and for added convenience, plant them in a raised bed or – if space is tight– in a border. All you need is a spot in full sun or partial shade, and fertile, weed-free soil. For a continual supply of fresh crops, sow seeds of fast-growing varieties, such as lettuce, radishes and spinach, every few weeks from spring to summer to extend the harvest period.
Creating a vegetable bed
The easiest way to create a small veggie plot in your garden is to buy a raised bed kit, and fill it with compost. Alternatively, dig over a patch of soil about one or two square metres in size. In early spring, remove all weeds from the planting area, even if you plan to put a raised bed on top, as weeds may grow through. Then dig in a bag or two of well-rotted manure or compost, which will help to feed the soil and boost plant growth. This is important if you are growing beans, which like rich, fertile soil. Leave the bed for a week or two and hoe off any weeds that germinate. You are now ready to start sowing and planting.
Caring for your vegetable crops
Most of the crops outlined below are hardy, and can be sown or planted directly into the soil outside in spring. The exceptions are runner (snap) and French beans, which will die if hit by frost. Sow these indoors in pots in spring and plant out at the end of May, after the last frost. Seed packs will provide you with details of sowing distances and final spacings for your chosen crops.
Plant your crops in neat rows, so you can tell the difference between your vegetables and unwanted weed seedlings, and place short varieties, such as beetroots, radishes and salad leaves, in front of taller types to ensure all receive adequate sunlight. Either remove weeds between the veg by hand or, if there is space, carefully hoe them off. Keep all your crops well watered.
Sow seeds Plant out seedlings
Beetroots March – July
Courgettes April (indoor) End of May
French Beans April (indoor) - July End of May
Onions March – May
Peas March – June
Radishes March – September
Runner (Snap) Beans April (indoor) - July End of May
Salad Leaves March – September
Spinach Feb – April / July - September
Top tips for successfully growing vegetables at home:
- Keep your veg plants well watered but ensure the soil is never waterlogged.
- Keep beds weeded by hand, or use a hoe or weeding tool.
- A few weeks before planting beans, add plenty of well-rotted manure to the soil to improve fertility
- Do not plant out tender crops, including runner (snap) and French beans and courgettes, until the frosts have passed in May.
- Sow fast-growing crops, such as lettuces and radishes, every few weeks to extend the harvest.
- Harvest crops, such as beans and courgettes, when young and tender
- Stake runner (snap) and French beans with long canes tied in a wigwam or to a frame. Stake peas by pushing knee-high twiggy sticks or plastic mesh netting tied to canes between the plants.
Should you wish to receive more information on growing vegetable seeds then please contact Edward Pennings at firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit: Squires UK