Growing Vegetables and Fruit - A Beginner's Guide

November 24, 2008

Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to enthuse you into getting started on growing some of your own vegetables and salads next summer...

Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to enthuse you into getting started on growing some of your own vegetables and salads next summer. Because I am writing for a wide variety of climates – some of the things I write about will not be relevant to your part of the world, but by and large gardening common sense is pretty general, so I hope what follows will be interesting & useful.

If you are keen to grow some of your own vegetables, fruit and salads – now’s the time to start thinking and planning.
Firstly, think what you, or you and your family like to eat – don’t just accept a generalised list of things you should grow – should is not a helpful word!
Try not to get carried away and buy endless packs of seeds, garden gadgets and packs of compost, (I used to love seed catalogues & I’d spend more on seeds than I would ever grow, given the time and space that I had at my disposal) but just pick a few things that you would really like to grow and start small.
There are annual plants and perennial ones and the important difference between them is annuals, as you would think, grow quickly, flower, set seed and die off.
Perennials are the longer lived plants and shrubs, which will give you many seasons of harvest.
It’s quite a good idea to give a thought to these perennials first – just because they will be around for longer and you might as well get them going soon.
Starting small, let’s think of the herbs that last for several seasons.
Sages, various mints, curry leaves if you like them,chives, sweet bay, rosemary and lavender. All of these can be bought as small plants and established in modest pots to be potted up (or into the garden) as the seasons pass and used to bring out the flavors in your food and to decorate your yard.
Check with friends, the local garden shops, on the internet, what are the best growing conditions for the plants you want – and, what are the best plants for your growing conditions!
Next and the backbone of your growing plan, are the many types of fruit trees and bushes suitable for growing in a domestic garden – some very suitable for growing in pots if that’s your gardening style.
Apples, plums, pears, currents, berries, the list is endless – but again, only buy what you and your family want to eat – a tree that is growing fruit you don’t really like is taking up space to no purpose.
Buy only two or three bushes or trees to start with (unless, of course, you are blessed with lots of space and a willing partner!) now or in the early spring, and you will be on your way to enjoying one of life’s great pleasures – the taste of food fresh from your own earth.
Next time, I’ll write about tools, equipment and containers.
As always,
Happy horticulture