I recently bought my sister two books to help her along in her vegetable gardening efforts, The RHS Growing Vegetables and Herbs and to accompany it, Nigel Slater’s ode to his vegetable patch, Tender. I’m now reaping the benefits of my encouragement in the form of lovely meals and am looking forward to a plethora of yummy home grown vegetables this summer. Hopefully when I move to my new house in September I’ll be able to create my own vegetable patch and enjoy the delights of eating food grown in my back garden. Here are some great tips provided by Neil Chambers on growing your own:
There are many advantages to growing your own food including saving money, good exercise and it makes healthy eating more affordable. There are so many things that you can grow at home including lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, garlic, peppers, cabbage and so much more. There are so many places to grow your own fruit and veg too so if you don’t have a garden then there’s no need to worry because you won’t be left out.
People are always being told that they should eat healthily and exercise but healthy foods are expensive and so are gym passes so growing your own fruit and vegetable is a great way to do both and keep hold of the pennies at the same time.
Growing your own food will also give you an idea of the foods that are in season so when you do have to take a trip to the supermarket you’ll know which fresh foods will be the cheapest. It also offers a great sense of achievement for you and the kids as you know that you’ve produced the food on your table alone.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge garden or a small kitchen window sill to grow your vegetables from because you can still get started with your growing. You can grow herbs, chillies and cress in small pots on a window sill and you can grow lettuce outside in a pot. If you have a garden but you don’t have the space to give up to a vegetable plot then consider planting your vegetables within your plants and flowers.
If you don’t feel the space that you have is big enough then consider using your front garden too or even renting out an allotment.
If you’re going to start growing your own fruit and vegetables then it’s essential to know what’s in season and when you should plant your fruit and veg so that they’ll be ready to harvest at the right time.
Another great way to grow vegetables and fruit is under a polytunnel so if you have a large enough garden – although they don’t have to be huge – then they help all fruit and veg grow really well. Polytunnels protect plants from the elements as well as keeping them warm which means you don’t have to worry about your plants being affected by snow or night time frosts because they’ll be protected by your polytunnel – if the polytunnel is particularly big then it’s a good idea to heat them electrically through the winter too.
People who grow their own fruit and veg mostly grow things like cabbage which you should sow between July and September and harvest between February and May; carrots which should be sown between February and August and can be harvested all year round; cauliflower to be sown between February and September and can be harvested all year round and potatoes – you should buy small potato plants that are already established rather than buying seeds – should be planted in January and February for a crop between April and May or between July and December for a crop between November and December.
Neil Chambers uses a polytunnel from First Tunnels to grow his fruit, veg and delicate plants every year and he produces so much, because of the great environment the tunnel provides his plants, he has to give them away.
Image credit: vegetables