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Cultivating your own fruit and vegetables is a growing trend. Vegetable seed sales now outstrip those of flower seeds as more and more of us hop on the grow your own bandwagon. Fruit and vegetables that you have grown yourself not only come with the inbuilt satisfaction that you ‘did that’ but also the knowledge of what has, or more importantly hasn’t, been sprayed onto them during the cultivation process. Edible gardening also provides the opportunity to grow interesting fruit and veg, thus satisfying our ever-increasing epicurean appetites.

So, if you’re fired up about setting up your own edible garden, where should you start? When considering growing your own, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Few of us have the time or the inclination to spend all day every day toiling in the garden, so ambitions of self-sufficiency may be a bit of a leap for your first attempt. Start small and get bigger, if you’re so inclined. A few herbs in pots, dotted along a windowsill may be all you want to tackle, and that’s ok – home grown chives, freshly snipped onto an omelette is a simple, wonderful thing, no less worthy of merit than an overflowing cornucopia of homegrown fruit and vegetables.

Whatever your goals, start by picking the sunniest spot you can find. Sunshine helps crops such as onions, carrots and tomatoes develop a sweeter flavour and makes for disease-resistant plants. The same goes for a window box or those pots of herbs on a windowsill – make sure they get some sun.

In terms of soil, most garden soil is OK for growing. Check its depth, though. If it isn’t as deep as the blade on your spade, then you’ll need to build raised beds or opt for large pots. Most of us have some idea of the things we’d like to grow. If you’re intending to cultivate from seed, then read the seed packets first for instructions about potting on and planting outside. Don’t start sowing earlier than the recommended dates, as plants that get off to a poor start will never properly recover. Seed packets provide a wealth of information and directions for sowing, watering and caring for the plant so beginners are well advised to follow them to the letter.

Keep your plot neat and tidy and clear of weeds – this is the key to success with vegetables. Pull out weeds by their roots. If you don’t want to go down the route of spraying weed killer over your garden, then weeds with wiry or deep roots can be dealt with by covering the soil with card or folded sheets of newspaper and 5cm of mulch.  By keeping weeds to a minimum, you will also reduce the possibility of an onslaught of slugs and snails. Dense flower borders and long grasses make perfect homes for slugs and snails, so position your plot away from these areas if you can to minimise the chances of night-time raids on your veg patch. If you can’t avoid proximity to grass and borders, then a sprinkling of organic slug pellets should do the trick.

Easy To Grow

Whether you have patio pots, window boxes, or a full-on vegetable plot; here is a quick list of some of the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Salads
  • Carrots
  • Beetroot


What to do in September


  • Lettuce
  • spinach
  • oriental leaves
  • salad leaves
  • pak choi
  • spring onions
  • turnip


  • Spring cabbage
  • autumn onions


  • Salad leaves
  • lettuce
  • radish, potatoes
  • globe artichoke
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • aubergines
  • cucumber
  • runner beans
  • French beans
  • broad beans
  • leaf beet
  • spring onions
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • peas
  • squashes
  • marrows
  • courgettes

In the greenhouse:

Remove lower leaves from tomato plants, close doors and window on colder night, reduce watering unless an Indian summer occurs.

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