Always wanted to grow your own fruit and vegetables? Gardeners' World editor, Adam Pasco offers a how-to guide for getting back to garden basics.
Ever tried to grow tomatoes and ended up with a load of inedible misshapen green lumps? Well, you're not alone. We might boast about how green-ﬁngered we are as a nation and have our names on the allotment waiting list, but, judging from research, it's about time we went back to basics as far as growing our own fruit and vegetables is concerned.
Despite the rising popularity of the 'grow-your-own' movement, the majority of the population is in the dark about what time of year to plant some of the most popular fruit and veg, according to research by Gardeners' World magazine. Do you know exactly when to sow your runner beans, plant your onions and harden of tomatoes, or the best time for planting fruit trees and bushes?
Veg which can be sown outdoors from March onwards, depending on region (if you live in a cooler spot you may want to leave them until April) include beetroot, broad beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbages, leeks, peas and salad leaves.
Those who want to sow some early veg can do so indoors, with the help of products such as heated propagators, self-watering seed starting systems and light systems in which seed trays sit beneath a hood of ﬂuorescent bulbs which provide the light needed for healthy vigorous growth.
Pasco says: "Many salads, herbs and crops can be sown indoors on a warm, bright windowsill or in a greenhouse. The earliest sowings during February and March will beneﬁt from extra warmth that can be provided by using a small electric propagator, while keen gardeners can beneﬁt from larger models providing greater space and temperature control.
"By April and May weather conditions will have warmed up and electric propagators are no longer essential, but remember that the later a crop is sown the later it will develop and mature.
"Even early outdoor sowings made during March and April will beneﬁt from cloche or ﬂeece covering to both warm the soil and provide shelter from cold conditions, especially at night."
So take inspiration gardeners and budding allotment owners, and grow your own!