Easy Growers for New Sowers!
Welcome to the third and final part to the Easy Growers for New Sowers mini series and here are the last five easy to grow vegetables. So far we have covered the following:
1 – Peppers [Capsicum]
2 – Salad Greens
3 – Radish
4 – Beetroot
5 – Runner Beans
6 – Peas
7 – Potatoes
8 – Rhubarb
9 – Broad Beans
10 – Onions
There are many easy to grow vegetables more than the ten l have listed and still more than the next five that l am about to list, but these 15 are great basics or staples to not just any garden but also to any table. Gardening in the last fifteen twenty years has become more accessible to different people, different demographs. The old myth that vegetable gardening is a rich man’s hobby due to it being expensive is pure folly.
Backyard gardening or what was originally called ‘Victory Gardening’ or ‘War Gardens’ in the USA and Canada and ‘Digging for Victory’ in the UK became an all too important aspect of motivational gardening during the war years. Surplus lands , waste grounds, even inside bomb craters were being used and utilised and requisitioned in the case of sports fields, playing parks and grazing fields for growing vegetables. In Britain alone by 1943, allotments had increased to well over 1 million plots.
Radio programmes dedicated to the likes of growing vegetables such as potatoes and leeks and so on became regular entertainment and the purpose was to ‘do what you could for the war effort as well as aiding the rationing issues’.
Herb plots were created and maintained so as to always have medicinal properties on board when shortages were created by the enemy through sinkings and blockades or merchant shipping.
After the war ended, backyard farming became a very popular past time due to the still ever present food shortages and these remained the case till the early to middle years of the fifties.
Whilst home grown vegetable gardening took a slump in the 70’s to the 80’s, with the arrival of the millenium and turn of the century vegetable gardening enthusiasts and enthusiasm has once again risen to astonishing levels due to the increased awareness of environmental, climatic changes, organic and sustainable healthy food lifestyle and living.
Suze and l ourselves understand the importance of growing our own food for many reasons … those already mentioned, plus savings – the cost of living is continually on the rise and yet the wage packet remains the same, BUT the quality of food is so much poorer than as little as fifteen years ago. The consumer places a huge demand on commercial growers and so much so that these same growers cut corners and start to try and develop foods that do not even need growing almost!
The end result is our bought foods are soiling and spoiling so much quicker than ever before due to bad farming practices and an over use of exploitive chemicals.
But if you needed solid reasons?
- Growing your own food means more control on your side and less chemicals, more flavours, more taste and more nutrition.
- Gardening is an incredible way to stay healthy and fitter, as well as being involved in the outside environement – soil alone – the very touch of it is a remarkable motivator.
- You do save money despite what many think – you DO save money and once your garden is working and you are maintaining it, we are not talking a few pennies here and there, we are talking a lot of money. Yes , there is always going to be an initial monetary investment as well as a physical time element – but over time, your garden will produce its own weight in gold.
- Organic gardening is helping the environment, it’s helping your planet, our planet, the planet full stop. If every one did something gardening wise, the impact would be astronomical on our planet. Recycling, composting, litter collection, upcycling and vegetable gardening are listed amongst some of the big issues that can help our environment and in turn help us.
- Having your own garden – be this wildlife, vegetable or ornamental, herbal or whatever also helps our pollinators thrive and survive.
- Grow vegetables and motivate your own self – sustainability independence to boot! Trust me when l say that there is an incredible sense of pride and achievement when you with your own two hands have created food for your table, for your family, for your friends or even for sales!
There are many reasons to grow your own vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers and they all far outweigh the myth that gardening is an expensive hobby only. Anyway, let’s look at our last five vegetable ideas.
11 – Garlic
Sow from October through to February and harvest between June to August.
I am rather pleased that my own garlic is now coming along nicely. I did worry about the elephant garlic not appearing at all, but it has literally started to sprout in the last couple of weeks!
Normal garlic on the right – elephant garlic growth on the outer left [shorter thicker shoots]
Garlic loves a well drained soil – they are as a vegetable crop, very low maintenance. Sow the cloves in the autumn months and then leave. Like onions when the foliages start to yellow off, turn brown and die, this is the time of harvest, which is usually in the summer months from the start to the later part of the season.
12 – Spring Onions
Sow between March to September and harvest between June to October [pending varieties]
I am growing spring onions or sometimes known as salad onions from three methods this year – seed, plug and seed tape in both red and white varieties. I eat a lot of onion, they are a great for vitamin C, calcium and great fibre for the stomach as they aid digestion – Suze is not that big a fan for the actual onion bit, but does eat the leaves.
You can grow these in the ground, containers, pots or raised beds and they are remarkably easy to do so. I will however be starting my seed sowings in a week to two weeks time ready for the beds, so l can have as many harvests as possible, and so will sow successions every two weeks or so.
13 – Tomatoes
Sow seed indoors between the months of February through to April, plant out May to June and harvest from July to September/October.
Tomatoes come in so many varieties you’ll never be short of variety – they can be grown in pots, beds, containers, grow bags, the ground, raised beds and even in hanging baskets. You can grow them outside or should you prefer – indoors. Last year and the previous year we had both indoor and outdoor plants.
Tomatoes love a rich soil, a compost rich soil and they adore sun, they love the warmth – please them with these simple needs and they will tease you with their fruity ways!
14 – Carrots
Sow seed from February through to July and harvest from May through to October/November [pending variety]
Carrots are an easy to grow vegetable – l am trialing them this year as a first – well you can’t include 1996! But they need a bit more preparation and they have a few more requirements due to their potential lengths of growth. To avoid stunted and deformed growth – ensure that the soil used is fluffy and light, a compost soil mixed with sand is often preferred by some gardeners. I am opting for simply a nicely rich and stone free compost soil – finely graded.
You could buy your own bagged graded compost and plant direct and mixing in perhaps 30% sand with it if you wished to loosen the heaviness up of the compost but a finely graded and sieved compost will do the job just as nicely, or alternatively ensure you sieve your purchased compost.
Wonky carrots are the result of the root hitting a solid and then forking or deciding to off shoot in another direction for the remainder of the growth.
Once the carrots start to grow – thin the seedlings – they do not like crowding nor sharing with weeds – and thinning enables a thicker root crop – balanced watering also ensures pests are kept to a minimum – although you might consider netting during their growing times.
You could try growing in containers, pots, buckets or even grow bags for best results. I have known some gardeners grow them in beer caskets.
15 – Kale
Sow seed from March to June indoors, plant out seedlings between April to June and harvest fruit from between September through to March.
Suze isn’t big on Kale admittedly, l love the versatility it can offer the chef throughout the year. It is fantastically nutritious and often overlooked by British consumers strangely enough. It can be fried, steamed, boiled, blitzed down – trust me the ways are endless and Kale is willing to try them all with you!
It can be grown in pots, containers, raised beds, direct to ground as well as in grow bags. The biggest problem with this vegetable is predatory behaviour especially from the likes of pigeons and blackbirds – so protect with netting.
Young kale is really sweet whilst older kale is quite woody, sproutlings are great in salads.
Anyway, there we go folks – 15 easy to grow and easy to sow vegetables for your garden – thanks for reading, catch you in the next episode of 366 Days of Gardening.
Easy Growers for New Sowers!
|Part One – 1 – 5||Part Two – 6 – 10|