Top of the crops

In honour of this week’s National Gardening Week (what, you didn’t know?!) I thought I’d try and come up with something vaguely useful and offer a few (inexpert) tips on growing your own, especially if you’re still deciding what to plant.
 

Whether you have a few containers, a patch of soil in the garden, or a whole allotment, you really don’t need green fingers to grow your own veg.

It’s worth considering which veg are easy to grow, which ones the kids are likely to eat, and which ones are expensive to buy in the shops.

With that in mind, here are my top of crops when it comes to growing your own.

1. Courgettes. For ease and quantity, you can’t beat courgettes. By mid-summer you’ll be pleading with your neighbours to take them off your hands. Not only are courgettes super high yielding, they are also fairly immune to slugs and bugs.  All you have to do is remember to water them. Plant now, in pots indoors, or in a greenhouse, then plant them out when it’s warmer.

2. Climbing beans. No, I’m not talking about those horrible, stringy, hairy things that old people swear by. But lovely, tender, French beans. These come in two types – climbing and dwarf, of which the climbing ones, such as Cobra, are far more prolific.  Sow indoors two per pot, and keep in a warm place. Then plant outside using canes for support when the last chance of frost has passed. As with courgettes, you’ll be inundated.
 

3. Beetroot. Before you turn your nose up, forget those vinegary things that come out of jars and stain your fingers, and think roasted with goat’s cheese. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, beetroot are one of the most failproof and low maintenance veg around. They also take up very little space and are suitable for growing in containers. Plant directly into the soil, no faffing around with pots, and wait for them to appear. Surprisingly good in brownies and chocolate cake too!

4. Salad.  Whatever takes your fancy really – lettuce, rocket, spinach, cut and come again  leaves, or a bit of everything. The great thing about salad, is it’s so quick to grow and will be on your plate just weeks after sowing. It also tends to be expensive to buy in shops, so growing your own can save you a packet. Unfortunately, slugs like it too, but you can help avoid the problem, by growing in raised beds or containers, and covering young seedlings. Large plastic bottles cut in half will do if you don’t have anything posh like a cloche.

5. Carrots.  Kids and carrots go together like salt and pepper. Well, ok not always, but even the fussiest of eaters can usually be persuaded to try one – especially if they’ve pulled it from the ground themselves.  Carrots are relatively straightforward to grow, though it’s a good idea to cover with netting if possible. You can even get multi-coloured and purple varieties (carrots, not netting!) – if that doesn’t tempt them nothing will.

What will you be growing this year?

About Becky Dickinson

Mum of three. Writer, blogger, grower. Trying to keep my head above the compost heap.

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Comments

  1. hello, thought i’d pop on over to say thanks for your comments on my own li’l blog. very kind. Lovin’ your little red wellies above. I’d love to call myself “green-fingered”, but sadly not! I aint’ got a garden either, but me and my 5yr old planted some carrot and tomato seeds this week in pots (they were free with Innocent smoothies!) but we’re clueless if they’ll actually ‘do’ anything!

    • ah, thanks for popping over and I’m glad my comment appeared on your site – I had trouble registering! Good luck with your seeds – tomatoes are usually a good bet.

  2. We have tried carrots for the last three years and always failed. I wonder what I am doing wrong! OH and I am a beetroot hater, sorry

    • hello and sorry to hear about your carrots! I’m no Alys Fowler, but I do always cover mine with netting (to prevent carrot root fly) and they’ve always worked well. Might be worth trying that if you don’t already? Also, the soil needs to be quite fine (not full of stones.) You could check out the Garden Organic website or the RHS, too, they’re pretty good. I hope you have better luck this year.

  3. We have just seeded some carots, lettuce, cucumber, peas and broccoli. They are all coming up really well. We will also do spuds too.

    Is it too early to plant them out yet then?

    Mich x

    • Thanks for reading. I don’t do potatoes so I’m not sure about those. Glad the others are coming up – I’ve given up on broccoli this year, as it hasn’t been very successful the last three years! I hope you have more luck. My peas on the allotment look like they are being nibbled by something so I’m growing some indoors as well to be on the safe side. It’s great so many people are growing there own these days. x

    • Thanks for reading. I don’t do potatoes so I’m not sure about those. Glad the others are coming up – I’ve given up on broccoli this year, as it hasn’t been very successful the last three years! I hope you have more luck. My peas on the allotment look like they are being nibbled by something so I’m growing some indoors as well to be on the safe side. It’s great so many people are growing there own these days.

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