Growing your own veg – believe it or not, it’s one of the top 10 rules in becoming a modern day hipster . The Grow It Yourself movement is really taking off and even the city folk are getting on board. Whether you’ve only got a balcony or a small flowerbed to work with here’s our guide to getting started.
1. High impact herbs
For the complete novice, try the indestructibles; rosemary, thyme & mint. These guys are harder to get rid of than they are to grow. For the more adventurous there’s parsley, oregano and sage. The easiest option is to buy plants from the garden centre and replant them in large pots or a small patch of garden. If you could only grow one thing it would have to be herbs; they take up the least space and have the maximum impact on your cooking. Plus, they’ll last all summer, possibly even into the winter.
2. Choose your veg well
The easiest vegetables to grow in small spaces are rhubarb, rocket, garlic, beetroot, radishes and chillies. Garlic and chillies will have the biggest impact on your cooking; and earn you the most bragging rights.
3. Buy vegetable plants in pots
Rocket, beetroot and radishes can all be grown from seed, but if you’re really looking for the easy way out you can buy herbs, rhubarb and chilli peppers as plants. Replant rhubarb and it will grow, even in a dark damp corner of the garden. Chilli pots should be kept indoors.
4. Don’t forget flowers
Buy geranium and allyssum plants and replant them in large pots or a strip of ground. They’re hardy and the contrasting colours give maximum effect. If you have a sunny wall it has to be sunflowers. Lastly, in winter sow daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops. There’s a massive feelgood factor when they pop up the next spring to announce that summer is on the way.
5. Hang tough
Hanging baskets are a great way to maximise a small space. Buy them ready to go from the garden centre. You’ll need a bracket to hang them and you’ll need to keep them watered. But if there’s one way to show you’re serious about your garden then this is it.
Plan Your Year:
It’s time for some shopping. Pack up the car, admit that your inevitable tumble into middle age has begun and point it towards the garden centre. You’re going to need deep, wide pots; compost; potting compost; seeds; plant food; herbs; geranium plants; allyson plants; rhubarb plants; chilli plants; hanging baskets; and sunflower, radish, beetroot and rocket seeds.
Plant the sunflower seeds in a sunny corner. They can grow up to 14 feet tall and all you have to do is keep them watered and support the stem if it gets tall.
Plant the radish, beetroot and rocket seeds. From March to July keep growing them at intervals to ensure supply. Radishes will be ready to eat in a month, beetroot in eight to ten weeks, and rocket in six to 14.
Summer & Autumn
If you bought chillies on your trip to the garden centre then you’ll be harvesting them from July to October. Harvest rhubarb from May to August and keep enjoying the radishes, beetroot and rocket.
It looks harsh and unyielding out there and it doesn’t seem like the time to be putting down bulbs, but actually now is the time to plant daffodil and snowdrop bulbs, and to sow your garlic.