Easy Fruit and Veg to Grow at Home & What to do in The Garden This Month
There is something very satisfying about growing your own, watching the seeds you carefully sowed slowly developing in to healthy strong plants, which then begin baring fruit or veg and eventually the really exciting bit comes – picking the crop and eating!
Lets be honest, it’s a fine idea but not everyone has the spare time to grow from seed – preparing the pots and sowing the seeds, watering, thinning out the shoots and planting out – and that’s before they actually resemble in any way something that is going to produce a delicious treat at the end!
Every year I intend to grow something from seed, and look forward to the delicious crop of home grown delights I will produce. Some years it happens, others it doesn’t… I always buy the seeds…but then there goes spring and I haven’t done it again! Oh well, maybe next year….
For those that don’t have the time (maybe also the inclination!) to grow from seed there is an easy, stress free and importantly, achievable way to grow your own. Head down to one of our lovely local garden centres and pick up some small but established plants. You will still need to give them some attention – feed and water regularly depending on the plant and occasionally some pruning in order to produce the biggest crop possible. BUT its totally worth it, a great activity to do with children outside, and should get them eating more fruit and veg!
Strawberries are the one thing I grow with my kids without fail every year. They absolutely love it and the pots by our south facing front door are checked daily for new ripe fruit, which is eaten instantly!!! We tried the alpine variety last year but the fruits weren’t as sweet and juicy so we’ll be going back to regular strawberry plants this year. I put 3 plants in a medium sized pot and cover the soil around them with a bit of straw to stop the fruit rotting when it touches the soil. These plants don’t like to get their leaves wet so when watering (often) just water the soil not the plants themselves. Other then that its all about the picking and eating – easy! Strawberry plants last a good 3 years then it’s worth replacing them.
Tomato plants grow super quickly and there are so many different varieties to choose – just a couple of plants will supply you with a good crop of sweet salad treats to see you through summer. Aim to get bush-type plants (check on the label) as they wont need training. Plant in large pots or growing bags, make sure they are in a sunny position that is protected from the wind. Water regularly to keep soil moist, feed regularly with a tomato fertiliser and stake if necessary.
Varieties to try:
Tomato ‘Tumbler’ – great for hanging baskets and patio pots – produces up to 4kg of cherry tomatoes per plant in a season!
Tomato ‘Ailsa Craig’
Produces an abundant crop of super tasting medium sized tomatoes.
Growing ‘cut and come again’ salad leaves is the easiest thing in the world. This is definitely one to try from seed! Picking the leaves when they are young prevents the plants from maturing and continues to produce multiple harvests of sweet young leaves. They can be grown all year round, on a sunny windowsill inside or outside once the risk of frosts has past.
Try Spinach, Rocket, Lettuces, Mizuna, Pak Choi, and Kale – buy individual varieties of seeds or as a mixed pack available from the garden centre.
Runner, climbing and dwarf bean seeds can be sowed outdoors from mid may to mid June (or alternatively see what plants are available to buy). They will need something to grow up so make a wigwam by pushing canes in to the soil and tying together at the top when planting. The general rule is to place one plant at the bottom of each cane.
With beans – the more you pick the more will come! So regular picking is essential. Water often and pick mature beans regularly (probably from July onwards) and its likely you will be still picking and eating in to early autumn!
What to do now in your garden….
• Remove the top 2.5-5cm of compost from potted plants and refill with fresh compost to add nutrients and encourage growth.
• Mulch borders with organic matter – well-rotted manure (ask your local farmer!) garden compost, or bark chips. Add a layer of the organic matter on top of the soil, to add nutrients and stop weed seeds from germinating.
• Fruit trees and bushes would benefit from an application of a balanced fertiliser – eg. Growmore, Fish, Blood & Bone.
• Put nesting material out for birds – wool, pet hair and even human hair are all great!!
• Sow a wild flower area – with a ready mixed pack of annuals such as cornflowers, poppies and marigolds.