Grow your own
Growing your own fruit and veg is back on the menu as the popularity of allotments is increasing across the country.
Even for those on allotment waiting lists and with limited space in the garden, there are plenty of ways to grow at home and get creative.
But as green-fingered novices, it’s often hard to know what to plant, so with twelve months of the year to plan we thought we’d put together a handy guide of what to grow and when to help you on your way.
The start of the year is the best time to begin planning what you want to grow for the coming months. As it’s cold, you won’t have much luck planting outdoors so use January as a chance to prepare your veg patches or allotment and ensure you have all the tools you’ll need.
If you have a greenhouse, it will be your best friend at this time of year as the warmer conditions are ideal for prepping tomato plants and other fruits whilst hardy veggies such as onions, broad beans and cabbage can be sown in boxes and kept sheltered. Leeks need a long season to grow, so start now.
If a greenhouse is a luxury you don’t have, begin sprouting (chitting) potatoes on the windowsill whilst raspberries, blackberries and strawberries can be put in the ground as long as it isn’t frozen or clogged with water.
Spring is well on its way and that means it’s time to get outdoors! The soil will be workable and ideal for planting asparagus, kale, spinach and spring onions ready in time for those summer salads.
April is the time to think about what you will want to be enjoying in the autumn. Pumpkins, courgettes, squash and larger potatoes suitable for roasting and baking will make yummy additions to the veg patch.
Most varieties of lettuce can be grown at any time and as they mature quickly, it is very easy to harvest more than one crop. Start in May to ensure that you have a continuous supply throughout the warmer months.
As a slow-growing vegetable, it will be a good time to plant out brussels sprouts in time for a Christmas crop.
Hooray for the warm weather! You should now be able to begin enjoying the fruits of your labour. Your crops of cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and onions planted earlier in the year should be ripe and ready.
It’s your last chance to sow beetroot and early summer is when to plant your cauliflowers, cabbage and kale ready for autumn. With radishes notoriously quick to grow, August is a good time to sow in time for an autumn harvest.
Get Strawberry plants in the ground now to give them a chance to establish ensuring a bumper crop for next year.
October is the time to start thinking about what you can grow that won’t mind the chill of the winter. Much like January, sure-fire winners are broad beans, cabbages, onion and rhubarb.
Late autumn and early winter provide ideal conditions for planting garlic but once you’re into December, the cold and wet weather will make it difficult to work on your vegetable patch. Use this time wisely – perhaps give the shed a good clear out, clean your tools and start to plan the year all over again.
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