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Grow Your Own Feature

 It is one of our resolutions this year, grow and eat more veg! But like most people, time and limited space often restrict us despite our best intentions.

In this month’s feature we look at how just about anyone can grow some of their own produce at home.

 Getting Started

Where to grow?

This will be dictated by how much space you have in your garden, but ideally you need a sunny spot, somewhere you can easily access as you will feel less inclined to water and tend to your crops if they are far from the house or difficult to access.

In Containers:A whole range of herbs, salads and vegetables grow well in containers. They look attractive too – hanging baskets filled with tumbling tomatoes make an attractive feature for a balcony or patio.

Raised Beds. Raised beds offer a number of practical solutions for productive home growing; firstly, if you have poor soil, raising the level and filling with good quality compost instantly improves it with none of the hard work. Secondly they are easier to manage, you access from all sides, less harm to your back when weeding etc. Having the beds raised up also helps protect against slugs and other pests.

Have a look a beautiful formal kitchen garden we created for a period home in Ripon.

Around The Garden: Many herbs, salad crops and climbing vegetables like beans and peas, fit nicely into ornamental borders, growing crops amongst plants such as French marigolds provide a naturally pest deterrent as some plants encourage helpful insects that feed on black fly and other pests.

 What to grow?

I’ll be the first to admit that leafing through seed catalogues and ordering online is one of my favourite past times, but it is important to give some time to planning what you are going to grow and now is the ideal time to do it. When planning what to grow think about what you eat and what space you have. I seem to spend a small fortune on those bags of mixed salad leaves and on fresh cut herbs, so I will be selecting some nice salads of the cut and come again variety. As we have limited space we won’t be growing any potatoes or large root crops, although we eat these frequently they are relatively cheap to buy, this year I would like to grow some unusual vegetables like globe artichokes that look great as ornamental plants in a border.