National Gardening Week is upon us, bringing with it bloomin’ loads of great gardening advice and tips for you more green-fingered folk.
Want to get involved in the action? We’ve put together the simplest how to’s on growing your own easy fruit and veg at home. Your garden’s set to look absolutely radishing.
Lettuce is easily one of the most dextrous and delicious veg out there – and it’s so simple to grow, too, make no mis-rake.
When to plant them?: You can plant lettuce anytime of the year
When will they be ready?: It’ll grow all year round, too!
- Liberally sprinkle some salad seeds (leaving spaces in-between each patch for growth room) over your empty veg plot, and cover them with a light dash of compost.
- Water the seeds carefully – don’t drown them!
- From there, water them lightly and regularly, so as not to let the compost dry out. To test your soil, poke your finger into it – if it’s damp just under the surface, your seeds are fine and don’t need extra watering. Only dry soil calls for extra sprinkling!
Succulent and sweet, they’re nature’s treat: definitely worthy of a place in your garden, we reckon. Here’s our grow-to guide.
When to plant them?: April – June
When will they be ready?: June – September
- Buy some strawberry plants and plant them in a growbag, leaving an equal chunk of space in-between them (plant about three per growbag so that it doesn’t get overcrowded in there).
- Water them lightly and regularly. You should have beautiful strawberries in weeks!
They’re a real vegetable crowdp-easer and totally scrumptious: peas are grown – lots of them – very quickly and easily with just a little attention.
Note that pea seeds are best off beginning in a seed tray, where the environment is more compact and can be monitored more closely. Additionally, birds and mice (among other creatures) love pea seeds, so by growing them in a seed tray you’ll be protecting them. When the shoots start to grow, you can shift them outside. Easy peasy.
When to plant them?: End of March – July
When will they be ready?: June – October
- Fill your seed tray halfway with compost.
- Sprinkle some pea seeds evenly over the surface then cover with more compost, filling the tray to the top. Water them carefully and intermittently.
- As soon as the shoots begin to grow, it’s safe to pop your seed tray outside (if you like!). Otherwise, make sure they’re getting enough sun by keeping them on the windowsill.
- If you’re taking your seeds outside, make a little trench in your ‘pea patch’ about two inches deep and six inches wide. Carefully, place the sprouted seeds roughly an inch apart along the trench.
- Add a little more compost on top and gently press down. Water the seedlings.
- When the plants are about five inches tall, cut off the shoots (leaving about an inch of stem). These will reshoot so you can enjoy them time and time again.
Onions might make you cry, but growing them certainly doesn’t. It’s a breeze!
When to plant them?: Late February – April
When will they be ready?: July – August
- Onions need a sunny, sheltered place to grow with fertile soil. Submerge your onion sets in the compost, about 12 inches apart from each other, in rows.
- Plant them right up to the tip, but leave that exposed, and firm the soil around them.
- When the foliage goes yellow and starts to topple over, they’re ready to be harvested!
At the heart of many beloved dishes, it’s only fair that tomatoes are also at the heart of your vegetable plot, right?
When to plant them?: Late April
When will they be ready?: August – October
- Plant some tomato seedlings in a growbag and water them – you can tie them to stakes if you want to support them and help them grow vertically.
- Water regularly – keep a close eye on them, because once flowers start to form, you’re likely to see little side shoots that aren’t carrying flowers popping out the sides. You should remove these, so your tomatoes have the best chance of ripening.
You don’t have to use a growbag, however – you can also grow tomatoes directly into the soil, but make sure you leave a lot of room in-between your seedlings. Tomatoes branch out a fair bit!
A delicious rhubarb crumble is just the ticket in Spring, Summer, Autumn and… well, Winter too! Make sure you don’t neglect this gorgeously moreish fruit in your growing schedule.
When to plant them?: Early Spring (although, technically, they can be grown whenever)
When will they be ready?: Late April (or a couple of months after you’ve planted them, if you’ve planted them from crowns or budded pieces)
- If you can get your garden mitts on some rhubarb crowns or budded pieces (basically, rhubarb that’s already partially grown) the growing process is even easier, and it’ll be a lot quicker to harvest, too!
- Pick a sunshiney rhubarb-dedicated area in your vegetable/fruit plot. Clear all weeds, and set your crowns/budded pieces down, so that the top of the crown is close to surface level. Leave some space in-between each rhubarb plant around 75cm for regular sized rhubarb and 120cm for larger rhubarb – as they can grow to be quite big.
- Water regularly.
- When your rhubarb stems are pink, they’re good to harvest!