Thursday 5 April 2018

Starting a small fruit and vegetable patch

We have the luxury of having an allotment to grow plenty of fruit and vegetables. It gives us all the space we need in order to grow our own but I still like to have a few things growing at home. There's nothing like being able to pick tomatoes straight off the vine or use fresh herbs for your cooking. Whether you can fit a couple of planters on your patio or some pots on your window sill we can all find a space to grow something at home.

Tomatoes – These have always been a favourite for home growers. There's so many varieties to choose from whether you want salad tomatoes or small cherry ones. Now you can even grow a range of colours with yellow and black tomatoes becoming more popular. The great thing about tomatoes is that ready established plants are very cheap to buy so you don't even need to grow them from seed yourself. Tomatoes do appreciate a bit of warmth so make sure whether you have them inside or out you put them in a sunny spot.

Blueberries – Most fruit trees need a good amount of space to thrive but blueberries can be found as container plants. Their high levels of antioxidants has increased their popularity in recent years. Sprinkle them over your morning cereal or put them in some homebaked muffins.

Beans – If you are short on space then French beans are a good choice. In one tub you can put 6 to 8 canes in for the beans to grow up. To avoid huge gluts of French beans sow or buy your plants at different times – space over a couple weeks. This way you will get continuous crops of fresh produce.

Courgettes – If you have ever grown courgettes you will know that growing too many is a big mistake! Courgettes can produce huge yields so just one or two plants in a planter can provide you with plenty of courgettes to see you through the summer.

Salad leaves – I find one of the easiest salad leaves to grow is rocket but plenty of other salad leaves can a grown in a seed tray. Many varieties are 'cut and come again' so once you have picked some more will grow in its place. Growing your salad leaves is a great way to cut down on food waste as often it is half a brown lettuce or a bag of mushy salad leaves that is found lurking in the back of the fridge.

Herbs – Perhaps not classed as fruit or vegetables but fresh herbs can make a big difference to your cooking. Rather than buying dried herbs or a bag of ready herbs go for pot of herbs you can keep growing yourself. If you want to start some herbs from seeds then try basil, chives and parsley.

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