Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Growing Your Own Vegetables

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Growing Your Own Vegetables

We welcome our resident gardening guru Geoff Stebbings from www.thebikinggardener.com with his weekly tip for what we should be doing in our garden this week.

Growing Your Own Vegetables
Growing your own has never been more popular. There are lots of reasons to grow your own veg but, for me, it is the pleasure of producing my own food and knowing that not only am I eating food that has not been sprayed or carried half way round the world but that I am eating what is in season. After many years of growing, I am not convinced that it will really save you a fortune, though a few crops will save you money.

You do not need a lot of space to grow veg and a small plot, a few pots or just some growing bags will give you some tasty and healthy treats.
Potatoes are easy to grow in bags, especially if you grow earlies. These are usually planted in March but because they grow fast, you can plant them now too and they will be ready to harvest in late July. You won’t get a massive crop but when grown in bags, in multipurpose compost, you can be sure of slug-free, easy to wash spuds that taste delicious.

The money-savers!
I think it is wrong to think that growing your own will save you money, especially if you take into account your time. But there are two easy crops that are more or less foolproof and can save money.

Salad leaves
If you make a habit of buying bags of salad leaves why not grow your own. You do not even need a garden – just a growing bag and a packet of seeds. Place the bag in a sunny spot outside, cut off most of the top and fluff up the compost. Sow the salad leaf seeds on the surface, scuffle the surface to cover the seeds and water. In about a month you will be able to pick a few leaves here and there but after another few weeks you will be able to scissor off handfuls of leaves. In warm weather the plants will soon produce a second flush of leaves that can be cut again. You can easily produce the equivalent of ten or more bags of leaves, all for an outlay of about £5.

French beans
Another popular supermarket buy because they are so easy to prepare, these can be grown in growing bags, pots or a spot in the garden. Sow the seeds 10cm apart in the bags and about 3 months later you will have tasty beans ready to harvest. Do not just grow the green ones though – the purple and yellow types are just as easy and are easier to find when picking.

My top Veg growing tips

  • Grow what you like to eat
  • Grow what is perishable and loses vitamins in storage such as lettuce and salads
  • Grow crops that give a good yield in a small space – that means avoid sweetcorn, broadbeans and Brussels sprouts
  • Look out for varieties that are resistant to disease such as clubroot and mildew so you don’t have to spray
  • Sow a little and sow often so you don’t get a glut. You can sow lettuce from February to July and French beans till July

You can find Geoff at his daily talks at the Allianz Garden Show Ireland this year which takes place at Antrim Castle Gardens from 5th – 7th May.


Catch up on Geoff’s other tips from this series:

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Hellebores

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Pruning

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Seed Sowing

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Magnolias

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