Get into Grow Your Own
Spring is here and now is the perfect time to get out in the fresh air and do some gardening. You can’t beat fresh produce from your garden. If you have children, it’s a great way to encourage green fingers and healthy eating.
You only need a small area to get started with Grow Your Own. If you don’t have much space, opt for container-grown produce.
Strawberries are particularly suitable for containers, and they look lovely trailing over the edge of the pot. Vegetables suitable for containers include carrots, sweet peppers and salad crops such as tomatoes, radishes and lettuce.
Growbags are ideal for tomatoes, marrows, courgettes and squash. Potatoes can be grown in large potato bags or even an old dustbin. It’s easy to get started. We’ll focus on tomatoes and lettuce, two good options for beginners.
To grow your own tomatoes, all you need is three tomato plants and bamboo canes, a growbag and some liquid tomato feed. They don’t like dull, rainy conditions, so you might want to invest in a small cold frame to position beside a sunny wall or fence. Along with a greenhouse, a cold frame gives the best results. If not, position your growbag in a sunny, sheltered spot.
- Place the growbag on its side and loosen up the soil inside in case it has become compacted.
- Cut three big holes and add the plants, firming and watering them in.
- Water every day and feed once a week with a liquid tomato food such as Tomerite. Keep them watered since irregular watering causes fruit to split.
- Pinch out the side shoots when they appear, to get more fruit.
Fast-growing produce such as lettuce is great to sow and grow with children, as it keeps their interest going, and they will be more keen to eat healthy food they have grown themselves. Lettuce is simple to grow and you can sow every few weeks to keep a supply of salad leaves through the summer.
Mixed salad leaves are ideal as they give a mixture of tastes and they will regrow when cut. Fill a planter with compost suitable for fruit and veg growing. If you’re opting for lettuce, in the same planter you could also sow a few seeds for beetroot and radishes.
What better way to add flavour to cooking and summer salads than with some fresh herbs? There’s a wide variety to choose from and most are available now. Herbs can be grown together in large pots. Some of the more tender ones like coriander, basil and tarragon do best on a kitchen windowsill.
Try planting up a 12 inch pot with mint, thyme, chives, sage and oregano. This will give you a good mixture for cooking and if placed on the patio or by the kitchen door, will give you a lively perfume as you brush by on a summer evening. It’s best to grow mint in a container, otherwise it takes over. Other herbs can look lovely in the garden, such as chives and rosemary.
If you enjoyed this article you may be interested in our other Gardening articles – you can find them in our ‘Garden’ section here