The birds are singing and the daffs are out. At this time of year do you get the uncontrollable urge to watch things grow?
There’s no better time than now to get planting. If you have never attempted this this most earthy of pastimes we urge you to get your spades and trowels out and get planting. You’ll not only get some of your five a day, but there is nothing quite like the accomplishment of feasting on your own produce! So whether you have a small garden or no garden at all we’ve come up with some easy to grow veggie suggestions that you can try.
These are really great hardy plants once established and can give juicy abundant crops – just one plant will feed one person easily so if room is an issue you can plant in a container or pot. To get the maximum crop make sure you harvest regularly to encourage growth (when they are about 10cm long). You can either sow indoors early spring or direct in the ground in late May. Plant around 60cm apart if planting out more than 1 plant.
You can grow this on a windowsill all year round so great if you have no garden. For the space limited go for the loose-leaf varieties like rocket and salad lettuces as opposed to hearting ones i.e. Gem as you’ll need to space those out. Another thing to remember is that a lot of lettuce varieties tend to bolt (go to seed) quickly so you’ll need to keep cutting them when they are about 3ins tall and keep the soil moist. Sow new plants every few weeks for continuity of supply.
These are so satisfying to grow as they grow so quickly – you’ll have your first crop in a month! Radishes are a very unfussy plant too and tolerate most soils -although they prefer a sunny position. These lovely crispy orbs are best eaten young so don’t leave in the ground too long or they will go a bit woody. Birds love them too so if that’s a problem just cover with some netting. Sow from March to June outdoors.
Great for expanding your veg repertoire and brilliant for freezing so if you can’t eat them all there is no waste. With most varieties but especially if you choose a dwarf variety these beans will happily grow without support making them a fuss free option. Make sure you water the beans regularly once they start flowering – for a healthier crop also pinch out the tops of the growing shoots once the bean pods start to fatten. You can start sowing outdoors in early spring
This is a great vegetable to grow simply because it has such versatile uses – you can eat it as a salad, add to omelettes, soups, curries and even smoothies. It’s easy to freeze too – just wash, dry the leaves and freeze. Choose perpetual spinach for a crop that keeps on giving. For a summer crop, spinach can be sown from early spring to the middle of June – sow seeds 2.5cm apart in trenches 1cm deep, cover and water. The only problem with spinach is that it tends to bolt if it gets too hot so cut regularly and keep well watered.