Vegetable Cheat Sheet all about the best ways to grow your own veg easily at home. Some vegetables are growing fast in days
Grow Your Own Veg Easily
You can buy onions in ‘sets’ (little onion bulbs) in bags of 50 or so, online from loads of places. However, there has been a huge increase in buying of seeds, etc., so the best place to start may be eBay.
When you get your onion sets, it is best to sow them before mid -April. Then you can reap the rewards in July and August when the leaves droop and start to go yellow.
Stick with the normal white onions, as the red varieties are more difficult to grow.
You need to buy ‘seed’ potatoes in order to get a crop of spuds. For your main crop, sow in April, for harvesting in the summer.
NOTE: You can leave the potatoes in the ground instead of digging them up all at once. Keep an eye on them though, as the slugs will start to eat them as autumn approaches.
To plant, dig an 8-inch deep hole. Pop the seed potato in, cover it with soil.
If you don’t have a garden you can grow potatoes in large pots.
The plants will soon sprout. When the stalk and leaves are about 6 inches tall, pull the soil up around it and leave just a bit sticking out. Keep doing this as it grows.
Potatoes need a lot of water, so look after them in dry spells.
When the plant flowers, remove the flowers and dig up the plant 10 – 14 days later, being careful not to stick your fork in a potato.
Every veg plot should have some carrots growing. You can pull them and eat them young in salads, or store them in Autumn to see you through the winter months. There are so many varieties, and they can all be sown at different times of the year, so I won’t go into them. Suffice to say – get some.
Look at the seed catalogs online and choose which variety you would like to grow, then get them quickly. The Nantes varieties are usually the easiest carrots to grow, producing sweet crisp 6″ – 8″ vegetables. This variety doesn’t mind heavier, rocky soil either. Try some different colored carrots too if you have the room to grow them (usually sown directly into the ground in straight lines).
Runner beans are great to grow, and if done right will give you lots of beans throughout the summer – although it seems they can survive quite a bit of punishment and neglect, and still come through.
Start to grow them from the middle of April.
Get a deep pot, fill it with growing compost, and sow one bean one finger deep. When it grows to 5 – 6 inches put it outside. Water it well. Then make a hole in the ground that the pot would fit into, slide the plant out and put it into the hole. (Be careful you don’t damage the plant). Place a bamboo cane or long stick next to the plant for support.
Some people plant the beans in a row and use a trellis for support. I prefer the ‘wigwam’ placing the bean plants in a circle.
You should start getting beans around August, and with any luck, they will keep producing until Autumn.
Dwarf French Beans
These beans are probably easier to grow than runner beans, They will produce a crop very quickly, and if you do a sowing every fortnight through summer, and you will get a continuous supply of beans.
Use the same method and planting time as you did with the runner beans. However, you don’t really need to prop them up with sticks – or if you want to, use short canes.
You will only need one courgette plant for the family – 2 at the most if you want to eat them every day! They can even be grown in a large pot. They love the sun, as do the squashes, which you plant at the same time. Butternut squash fruit late in the year, but they keep well. I would suggest you grow some so you can make delicious soups etc.
It is probably best to grow lettuces, radishes, etc. in pots so that the slugs don’t get at them. Sow regularly so you don’t get everything coming ready at the same time, and you will enjoy fresh salad throughout the summer.
Try your hand at tomatoes as well. It is probably best to grow them in the special tomato grow bags in a sunny position. Personally I love the small cherry tomatoes – but you probably have your favorites – many people like the huge moneymaker tomatoes, just to marvel at how big they can grow to.
Right now, it is extremely important that you get yourself some seeds of anything that you like, and get growing. I have a feeling that in some areas, the supply of salads and vegetables could dry up, leading to panic buying.
The challenge is that you can’t store some veg and virtually all the salad varieties – so if you have your own supply, you are laughing. And if you have a big enough garden or veg plot, why not help your elderly neighbors out too? They will be very grateful to you, and it can be your way of helping people in the crisis that we face.
There are loads of other things you can grow – peppers, aubergines, chilies, winter crops such as cabbage, broccoli, etc. – but the message here is get started on the easy stuff, and you will soon get the bug when you see it all coming up through the ground.
Let’s dig for victory!
(If we have any avid gardeners/veg growers who would like to write about their gardening experiences and tips to help our community, email me firstname.lastname@example.org )