There’s a little of the undiscovered farmer in each of us. There is a natural wonder and satisfaction in growing the food we eat. From one small seed or seedling, through the addition of water to the soil and sunshine to the leaves, it may never cease to amaze when you grow your own fruit and veg.
The great thing is that, far from needing acres of land, just a small patch of ground, a pot or a container, will do just as well – and it’s never too late in the year to start sowing.
Space and time-saving crops
The team at the BBC’s Gardener’s World address the concerns of those starting on the adventure of home-grown vegetables by concentrating on those that take up little space and still manage to thrive at the hands of the inexperienced or those with little time on their hands:
Dwarf French beans
- may be grown in open ground in your garden or a container on your balcony – and you can them sow them anytime between now and the end of July;
- a single row of plants will crop for three to four weeks, so plant them one row at a time to keep yourself in fresh French beans from now until well into the autumn;
- your balcony can even play host to something a little more exotic if you grow two or three chilli plants in a single large pot;
- there are probably a lot more varieties than you realised – from classically hot to really quite mild and sweet – so choose the flavour you like, get started now, and you’ll perhaps have some to store over winter;
- you can hardly go wrong with radishes – they are so easy to grow, they grow fast, and you’ll almost certainly get a crop within three to four weeks of planting;
- no wonder these make such a sure-fire win if you have children at home.
Crops for the garden
If you have a little more space and are blessed with access to a garden or allotment, there is a long list of vegetables you can start growing now or throughout the remainder of the summer.
Garden Organic suggests some of these, which include, beetroot and carrots (throughout July) and Spring cabbage, calabrese, chicory. Chinese cabbage, kale, and spinach (during August).
To that list of vegetables to be planted in summer, Farm and Dairy would also add Brussel sprouts, scallions, radicchio (Italian chicory), arugula, chard, turnips, and cauliflower.
Even if you’ve left some of your crops a bit late to grow from seed now, you can still buy small, pre-grown plants from the garden centre and plant them out once you get home. The website Growing Family suggests this approach for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, runner beans, carrots, courgette, and beetroot.
More time-consuming to get started, longer to wait for the results, and in need of rather more space are the wide range of fruits that can be grown in any English garden - but it is worth it as you will get immense satisfaction and an abundant supply of apples, pears and plums etc.
Once again, you might be surprised by the vast range of possibilities available – not to mention the treasure trove of tastes awaiting your tongue. The Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) website details the many types of fruit and how you can grow them.
Herbs and spices
There are no space constraints when it comes to growing your own herbs and spices. The Evening Standard listed some of the ready-make herb and indoor garden kits which will thrive even if limited to your kitchen.
A sunny spot in your kitchen is handy for perennial herbs like bay laurel, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, which can all be bought as small plants from your local garden centre, suggests the website Gardener’s. You could even root herbs such as mint and basil for yourself in a glass of water.
Finally, whether you have just a window box or garden, there is lots of free information available on gardening and growing your own vegetables on the internet. Enjoy!