How To: A guide to growing your own vegetables

April 2016



Growing your own vegetables sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know where to start, you probably never will.

We’ve researched how to grow your own vegetables so you don’t have to!

There are lots of benefits to growing your own produce. Not only will you save money, but also home-grown vegetables taste so much better than those from a supermarket and nothing beats the satisfaction of picking your own produce metres from the kitchen.

It’s easy to get carried away when looking through seed and plant catalogues, but you need to make sure that you only grow what you really like and keep experiments to a minimum. You really need to consider the space that you’re working with, as this will be the biggest limitation that you face.

Here are some easy plants to start off with, which have a high success rate and require very little maintenance. 

Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow. Take note that certain varieties can be allowed to grow shoots now and planted in deep grow bags that can be harvested at the end of the summer. All you need to do is simply dig them up with a fork or spade.

Top Tip: Try unusual purple potatoes for a colourful addition to salads, fish dishes and BBQ’s!

Salad Greens

Salad leaves can be sown directly into the ground or into pots. They grow very quickly and should be harvested (snip leaves off with scissors) regularly to prevent them going to seed. You could have an almost endless supply of fresh salad leaves during the summer, which will save you a fortune on shop bought salads. Swiss chard grows fantastically large and leafy and is a great alternative to spinach.

Top Tip: Grow some Little Gem lettuce. It’s easy to grow and is often cited by gardeners and chefs as their favourite.

Tomatoes

Tomato plants can be bought from a garden centre at certain times of the year, so keep an eye out. They also grow really quickly in a greenhouse. You will need to support the growing plants with canes and feed with a tomato fertiliser once the plants have started flowering. You will need to pollinate the flowers yourself using a paintbrush or cotton bud if you keep your greenhouse door closed often.

Top Tip: Make sure you give them large pots, lots of water and pinch out the growing side shoots when they are 1cm long.

Herbs

The good thing about growing herbs is that you don’t need a lot of space – a windowsill will suffice. You can grow basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage right from your kitchen! You will need to water with a misting bottle at first, then progress to watering properly once the seedlings are a couple of centimetres high. The above-mentioned herbs are robust and can be moved outdoors into the ground once they’re a few inches high.

Top Tip: Basil is best grown indoors or under glass, as it needs a lot of sun and warmth.

Courgettes

Courgettes can be sown under cover or bought as small plants. They grow very well in a sunny spot in the garden. Try growing the yellow variety, which are lovely and hard to find in the shops! 

Top Tip: One plant will produce more courgettes than you would ever think possible.