From one man who likes his veg Tudor style to another who loves to grow Tomatillos, and on to other green fingered folk with handy hints to share, here we bring you awesome veg growing tips from people in the know – veg gardeners and bloggers from across the country.
A man who knows what he likes to put on the end of his fork, Matt of Grow like Grandad says there’s no point growing crops you and your family don’t eat. It’s a view Dawn of Being Self Sufficient in Wales shares. She says: “There’s no point growing cauliflower if you hate the stuff.” Her solution is to write up a list of everything your family does eat, and stick to that for your veg sowing selections.
If you fancy being a bit more adventurous, another Matt, this time from Modern Veg Plot, says: why stick to veg you can buy at the supermarket when there are so many tasty alternatives to try?
“There are absolutely loads of unusual, interesting and incredibly tasty crops that are dead easy to grow at home such as Achocha, Cucamelons, Oca, Yacon, Tomatillos, Salsify, Kiwano and Tiger Nuts.
Or look for veg that keeps on giving, says Anni of Anni’s Veggies. She says perennials are the way to go:
“Gracing the garden for several years or more at a time perennial vegetables are the ultimate in easy gardening.
Anni recommends kales like ‘Daubenton’s’ and ‘Taunton Deane’, tree and Welsh onions, and an old favourite from Tudor times: Skirret. A root with a sweet start and a peppery parsnippy finish, skirret roots are long and thin with “mature plants producing new baby plants around the base of the main stem allowing the gardener to easily propagate more stock.”
“Work with nature, not against it,” says Hayley of Hayley’s Lottie Haven. She gets two crops from her sunniest spots by sowing earlier there than elsewhere on her plot, and gives shade-loving plants a helping hand by growing them in the shadow of taller plants:
“I plant my lettuces and beetroot in the shadow of my tall plants such as sweetcorn and beans. Everything should work in harmony
That’s something with which perennial-loving Anni agrees. She says skirret produces flowers pretty enough to grace a border, just one reason why she sows perennial veg in “mixed ‘polycultures’ with other beneficial plants which can fix nitrogen and perform other vital functions in the garden.”
Whatever you choose to sow, avoid gluts by sowing less, but more frequently. That’s what Richard of Sharpen Your Spades does: “I sow short rows of things like radish, beetroot and carrots every few weeks.”
Once you’ve thinned out your carrots, “earth them up a bit,” says Lou Nicholls, head gardener at Ulting Wicks. It’s a trick her grandad taught her:
“First it makes it more difficult for carrot root fly to get at them and secondly, it prevents the tops from turning green as it stops the sunlight from reaching them.”
Make the most of your perennial veg by using existing stock to create more says Anni of Anni’s Veggies. She goes for Taunton Deane kale because it “has a very branching habit and cuttings taken from young side shoots are easily rooted to form new plants.” She also sticks to harvesting the leaves of her Welsh onions so that the bulbs can increase in number.
“Don’t forget to collect the seeds from this year’s plants. Anni says: “seed can be saved to sow for more plants next year.
If you’ve got some growing tips to share, we’d love to hear from you. Just hop over to our Facebook page and drop us a line. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with our favourite tip from Matt of Grow Like Grandad: “Despite your spring sowing enthusiasm, you only need two courgette plants…” Wise words, indeed.