grardeningdata.co.uk

Growing Vegetables

General Tips

Originally on http://www.recipes4us.co.uk

Seed Sowing, Care, Harvesting


Aubergine | Bean - Broad | Beans - French/Kidney  | Beans - runners/climbers Beetroot |Broccoli |Brussel SproutsCabbage  | Capsicum (peppers) | Carrots | CauliflowerCourgette |Cucumber - OutdoorKohl Rabi | LeeksLettuce | MarrowOnionsParsnips | Peas/ Mange toutPotatoes | Pumpkin Radish | Spinach | SquashSwede |Swiss Chard/Leaf Beet |tomatoesTurnips


Growing Herbs and Vegetables Main Page


Growing Herbs Main Page

Below are general guidelines for growing Vegetables. It's probably easier than you thought and there's nothing nicer than harvesting and cooking  your own home grown produce.

Many vegetables can also be grown in pots outdoors. A lot has been said about not being able to grow certain vegetables, e.g. carrots, in pots, but much of this talk is just not true. Ok, you won't get 12-inch long carrots in a 6-inch pot, but you can still grow many fresh veggies in pots, especially if you choose varieties which have been adapted for growing in confined spaces.

Most vegetables prefer a sunny position although light shade for part of the day is acceptable.

Aubergine

Plant Height

Up to 75cm/ 30" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 20 weeks

Sowing time

Late Feb - April - temperature  +18C/64F

Where to Sow

Indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost. 

How to Sow

2 seeds per pot - 6mm/1/4-inch deep. Germination takes up to 21 days

After Germination

Remove the weakest seedling

Growing on -  in pots

Harden off plants and finally move outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. Once the plants are established with a good root system,  pot up individual plants into 20cm/8" containers (min) or 2 per growbag, in a hot sheltered sunny position. Pinch out growing tips when plants reach 30cm/12-inches. Stake plants.

Growing on - in ground

As above but plant  in beds or borders 45cm/ 18" apart. 

Aftercare

Water regularly, but do not keep the compost very wet. Fine spraying of plants with water  helps encourage fruit to set. Limit to 5 or 6 fruits per plant. Once the fruit start to swell, feed with tomato food  each time you water. 

Harvesting

Cut fruit as needed  once they have reach a good size and colour (between 10-17cm/4-7" depending on the variety)  but before the shine disappears from the skin. Crops over about 8 weeks.

Top


Bean - Broad

Plant Height

Up to 120cm/4ft 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 14 weeks

Sowing time

March to May  - temperature   +9C/48F. 

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground

How to Sow

5cm/2" deep - 20cm/8" between seeds - in rows 60cm/24" apart

After Germination

Keep weed free

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Water in dry weather 

Aftercare

Tall growing varieties will need support. Place stakes at the end of the rows and  string between the posts at 30cm/12" intervals up the stakes. Pinch off the top 7.5cm/3" of each plant once the first beans start to form. 

Harvesting

Cut young pods at 7.5cm-10cm/2-3" for cooking whole. Harvest pods for shelling when the beans start to show through the pods. Crops over a period of about 10 weeks.

Top


Bean - dwarf  French/Kidney

Plant Height

Up to 45cm/18" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 10-12 weeks

Sowing time

Indoors April to May  - temperature   +16C/61F. 

Outdoors Late May - Early July - temperature +17C/63F

Where to Sow

Indoors in pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

How to Sow

5cm/2" deep

Indoors - 1 per  7.5cm/3" pot 

Outdoors in containers  - 10cm/4" between seeds in groups/blocks 

Outdoors in open ground - 10cm/4" between seeds - staggered in rows 45cm/18" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

Protect from slugs. Keep well watered.

Growing on -  in Containers

Harden off indoor sown plants then transplant to larger pots or growbags spacing the plants 10cm/4" apart in groups/blocks

Growing on - in ground

As above or in rows spacing the plants 7.5cm/4" apart and  rows 45cm/18" apart

Aftercare

Support plants with short sticks or  twigs if necessary. Keep very well watered and feed with liquid fertiliser once the flowers have faded and the pods begin to form. 

Harvesting

Begin cutting pods at 10cm/4".Crops over a period of about 12 weeks.

Top


Beans - Runner/Climbing

Plant Height

+ 5ft

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 12-14 weeks

Sowing time

Indoors April to May  - temperature   +16C/61F. 

Outdoors Late May - mid June - temperature +17C/63F

Where to Sow

Indoors in 7.5cm/3" pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

How to Sow

Indoors: one per pot - 5cm/2" deep

Outdoors:  5cm/2" deep -  22cm/9" apart - in rows 45cm/18" apart 

After Germination

Protect from slugs

Growing on -  in pots

Harden off indoor sown plants then transfer to large pots (min 30cm/12" diameter) spacing the plants at least 17.5cm/7" apart around the edge of the pot. Support each plant with a tall sturdy cane (6ft) and tie the tops of the canes together to form a wigwam effect. 

Growing on - in ground

As above  but space the plants 22cm/9" apart in  rows 45cm/18" apart , tying the tops of the canes together. 

Aftercare

Pinch off the tops of each plant once they reach the tops of the canes. Liquid feed from time to time through the cropping season.. 

Harvesting

Cut pods regularly at approx 15-20cm/6-8", before the beans start to swell. Crops over a period of about 8 weeks Do not allow seeds to ripen as this stops pod production.

Top


Beetroot

Plant Height

Up to 30cm/12" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 10-12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers at least 22cm/9" wide

Sowing time

Outdoors late March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

2 seeds 2.5cm/1" deep - 10cm/4" between seeds -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are 2.5cm/1" thin to 1 seedling per station. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well.

Growing on -  in pots

Keep well watered and avoid dry spells to prevent the beets becoming woody or splitting

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Start pulling the beetroots once they have reached the size of a golf ball, pulling alternate plants to give space for the remaining roots to reach maturity (about the size of a cricket ball).

Top


Broccoli

Plant Height

Up to 60cm/2ft

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late April to May  - temperature   +12C/54F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on -  in pots

Once the plants are 7.3cm/3" tall,  pot up individual plants into 20cm/8" containers (min) about 2.5cm/1" deeper than they were growing in the seed bed.

Growing on - in ground

Once the plants are 7.3cm/3" tall, transplant to final growing positions planting them firmly about 2.5cm/1" deeper than they were growing in the seed bed and spacing the plants 30cm/12" apart in rows or in blocks.

Aftercare

Water in dry weather and feed occasionally with liquid fertiliser. Pull  surround earth up around the base of each plant during the growing season. May need staking in the autumn.

Harvesting

Cut the central spears once they are well formed but before the flower buds start to open. Side shoots will appear and these should be harvested regularly without completely striping the plant. Do not allow any of the flowers to open to ensure continuous cropping over a period of about 8 weeks.

Top


Brussel Sprouts

Plant Height

Up to 90cm/3ft

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 28-36 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late March-April  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Once the plants are 7.3cm/3" tall, transplant to final growing positions planting them firmly with the lowest leaves just above soil level. and spacing the plants 60cm/2ft  apart in rows or groups/ blocks.

Aftercare

Water in dry weather and foliar feed in early summer. Pull  surround earth up around the base of each plant during the growing season and stake plants.

Harvesting

Cropping starts in about September and can continue over a period of up to 20  weeks. Begin picking sprouts from the base of the stem when they are the size of a small walnut. Remove any open "blown" sprouts and discard. Only pick a few sprouts from each plant at any one time, working upwards. Once all the sprouts have been harvested, cut off the green leafy tops and cook like cabbage.

Top


Cabbage

Plant Height

Up to 30cm/12"

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 20-30 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late March to early May  - temperature   +10C/50F

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Once the plants have5-6 leaves, transplant to final growing positions planting them firmly slightly deeper than they were in the seed bed and spacing the plants 50cm/20" apart in rows or in groups/ blocks.

Aftercare

Water in dry weather and feed  with liquid fertiliser once the heads start to mature. 

Harvesting

Cut off heads close to the ground. Crops over a period of about 8 weeks.

Top


Capsicum (Sweet Peppers)

Plant Height

Up to 60cm/ 2ft 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 18 weeks

Sowing time

March - April - temperature   16-21C/60-70F

Where to Sow

Indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost. 

How to Sow

2 seeds per pot - 6mm/1/4-inch deep. Germination takes up to 21 days

After Germination

Remove the weakest seedling

Growing on -  in pots

Harden off plants which have been raised indoors and finally move outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. As the plants get bigger, pot up into larger pots in stages ending with one plant per 20cm/8" container or 3 per growbag. Place in a hot sheltered sunny position. 

Growing on - in ground

As above but plant  in beds or borders 45cm/ 18" apart. 

Aftercare

Water regularly, but do not keep the compost very wet.  Limit to 6-10 fruits per plant. Feed with tomato food once the fruit start to swell each time you water. 

Harvesting

Start picking fruit when they are green once they have reached the size of a tennis ball and the skin is smooth and glossy (probably at the beginning of August). This will ensure continuing new fruit production. A mature pepper will turn red (or whatever colour) at the end of the season but remember leaving peppers to fully ripen will halt new fruit production. Crops over about 8 weeks.

Top


Carrots

Plant Height

Up to 20cm/8" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers at least 20cm/8" deep

Sowing time

Late March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are 2.5cm/1" tall,  thin to 5-7.5cm/2-3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well. Do not leave thinnings on the soil surface as they attract carrot root fly.

Growing on -  in pots

Keep well watered and avoid dry spells to prevent the carrots splitting.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Start pulling baby carrots from June onwards. Crops over 16-20 weeks.

Top


Cauliflower

Plant Height

Up to 45cm/18""

Time between sowing & harvesting

18-24 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late March to early May  - temperature   +10C/50F

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Start thinning plants as soon as they can be easily handled to prevent them becoming weak and spindly. Finally thin to 7.5cm/3" apart. 

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Once the plants have5-6 leaves, transplant to final growing positions planting them at the same level as they were in the seed bed and spacing the plants 60cm/2ft apart in rows or in groups/ blocks.

Aftercare

Keep well watered, especially in the early stages and feed regularly  with liquid fertiliser once the heads start to mature. Bend the leaves over the developing curds (heads) to protect from the sun.

Harvesting

Begin cutting the heads whilst they are still quick small to prevent having a glut of fully matured heads. Crops over a period of about 12 weeks.

Top


Courgette, Marrow, Pumpkin, Squash

Plant Height

Trailer - Bush varieties up to 60cm/2ft

Time between sowing and harvesting

10-14 weeks

Sowing time

Indoors- late April - temperature   +19C/66F

Outdoors - Late May - Early June - temperature +19C/66F

Where to Sow

Indoors in pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

How to Sow

Requires very rich, well drained soil/compost

Indoors - 12mm/1/2" deep on its side - seed 1 per  7.5cm/3" pot 

Outdoors in containers - 2.5cm/1" deep on its side in large  containers (at least 30cm/12inches wide)  or 2 per growbag 

Outdoors in open ground - 5cm/1" deep on its side at least 45cm/18 inches apart on all sides.

After Germination

Keep well watered. Protect from slugs.

Growing on -  in Containers

Harden off indoor sown plants then transplant to large containers or growbags, spacing as above.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

Pinch out growing tips of trailing varieties when they reach 60cm/2ft long. Keep very well watered but only water around the plants and feed with liquid fertiliser once the fruits begin to form. 

Harvesting

Continual cropping is necessary to prolong the harvesting period. Start cutting courgettes at about 10cm/4" and Marrows at about 20cm/8". Cropping only continues until 1st frosts (about 8-12 weeks).

Top


Cucumber - outdoor

Plant Height

Trailer 

Time between sowing and harvesting

12-14 weeks

Sowing time

Indoors- late April   - temperature   +

Outdoors - Late May - Early June - temperature +19C/66F

Where to Sow

Indoors in pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

How to Sow

Requires very rich, well drained soil/compost

Indoors - 12mm/1/2" deep on its side -1 per  7.5cm/3" pot 

Outdoors in containers - 2.5cm/1" deep on its side in large  containers (at least 30cm/12inches wide)  or 2 per growbag 

Outdoors in open ground - 5cm/1" deep on its side at least 45cm/18 inches apart on all sides.

After Germination

Keep well watered.

Growing on -  in Containers

Harden off indoor sown plants then transplant to large containers or growbags, spacing as above.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

Pinch out growing tips after 6 or 7 leaves have developed. This will produce side shoots. These can be left to trail on the ground or trained up netting. Keep very well watered but only water around the plants and feed with liquid fertiliser once the flowers have faded and the fruits begin to form. 

Harvesting

Cut fruit at 15-20cm/6-8". Cropping only continues until 1st frosts (about 6 weeks).

Top


Kohl Rabi

Plant Height

Up to 45cm/18" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

8- 12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground

Sowing time

Late March to July  -  temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are 2.5cm/1" tall,  thin to 5-7.5cm/2-3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well. Continue thinning in stages until the plants are 15cm/6" apart

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Keep watered. The swollen stems mature above the ground so may need protection from birds.

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Start pulling when the globes are the size of a tennis ball. Crops over 16-20 weeks.

Top


Leeks

Plant Height

Up to 60cm/2ft

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 30 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in a seed bed

Sowing time

Late March - April  - temperature   +12C/54F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2" deep - very thinly - in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Thin plants to 5cm/2". 

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Once the plants are 20cm/8" tall, transplant to final growing positions. Water the bed well before lifting with a fork. Trim the root ends and growing tips.  Make holes with a dibber,  15cm/6" deep and 15cm/6" apart in rows or groups/blocks then drop the leek seedlings into the holes (1 per hole). Fill each hole with water but not soil.

Aftercare

Water in dry weather but do not deliberately fill the holes with soil. Gradually pull up surrounding  earth around the base of each plant during the growing season which will increase the length of white stem. Try not to get soil  between the leaves when doing so. Feed occasionally during the growing season.

Harvesting

Begin lifting when the leeks are small and tender to prolong the cropping period. Leeks can be left in the ground over the winter months.

Top


Lettuce

Plant Height

Up to 30cm/12" depending on variety

Time between sowing and harvesting

6-14  weeks Depending on Variety

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Late March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks or in containers. Successive sowing is recommended to prevent a glut. Sow a few seeds every 2 weeks.

After Germination

Start thinning seedlings when the 1st true pair of leaves appear. Protect from slugs. Keep the soil moist but not very wet.

Growing on -  in pots

Gradually thin to final spacing depending on variety grown (between 7.5cm/3 inches for salad leaf varieties up to 30cm/12" apart for whole cabbage/cos varieties)

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

Keep the soil moist with regular watering, preferably before mid afternoon. Continue to protect from slugs

Harvesting

Cut whole heads once the hearts have firmed up.  With loose leaf and baby leaf varieties, cut a few leaves from the outsides of each plant at any once time. These crop over 16-20 weeks.

Top


Marrow - see Courgette


Onions and Spring/salad Onions

Plant Height

Up to 60cm/2ft depending on variety

Time between sowing and harvesting

Spring/salad Onions - 12 weeks

Others - +22  weeks Depending on Variety

Where to Sow

All - Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Spring/Salad - March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F

Others -  March- April  - temperature +10C/50F

Can also be grown from sets

How to Sow

Spring/Salad Onions

Others - 12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

Sets - plant 10-15cm/4-6" apart in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

After Germination

All - Thin seedlings to 2.5cm/1".  Keep the soil moist but not very wet and weed free.

Growing on -  in pots

All - Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season.

Growing on - in ground

Spring/Salad Onions - Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. Keep weed free

Others - thin to 10cm/4" apart. Keep weed free. Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. 

Aftercare

Spring/Salad Onions - as above

Others - Break off any flower stems which may appear. Stop watering once the bulbs have swollen and pull back any covering earth to expose the bulb surface.

Harvesting

Spring/Salad Onions - Pull as and when needed

Others - Once the foliage has turned yellow and toppled over, leave the bulbs for a further two weeks then carefully lift with a fork. Onions which are not going to be used immediately should be spread out and left to dry (outside if the weather is clement or inside if rainy). Discard any soft or damaged bulbs.

Top


Parsnip

Plant Height

Up to 30cm/12" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

34 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground

Sowing time

March  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

3 seeds 12mm/1/2-inch deep, 15cm/6" apart -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks. Germination can be very slow.

After Germination

Thin to 1 plant per station. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well.

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended as the roots are very deep and the crop takes a long time to mature.

Growing on - in ground

Keep weed free and well watered

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

The  roots are ready to be harvested once the foliage begins to die back. Lift as required through the autumn/winter.

Top


Pumpkin - see Courgette


Peas/ Mangetout

Plant Height

Up to  90cm/3ft+ depending on variety 

Time between sowing and harvesting

Peas - 12-16 weeks

Mangetout - 16-20 weeks

Sowing time

Peas -  Late March - May  temperature +10C/50F

Mangetout -   April - May  +12C/54F

Where to Sow

Outdoors in large containers or open ground

How to Sow

5cm/2" deep

In containers  - 7.5cm/3" between seeds in groups/blocks 

In open ground - 7.5cm/3" between seeds - staggered in rows at least 45cm/18" apart depending on how tall the variety grows or in groups/ blocks

After Germination

Protect from birds and slugs. Keep well watered and weed free.

Growing on -  in Containers

Start to support with twigs when the plants get to 7.5cm/3" high. Continue to keep watered. 

Growing on - in ground

As above.

Aftercare

Medium and tall varieties will require extra support as they grow. Keep well watered and feed with liquid fertiliser once the flowers have faded and the pods begin to form. 

Harvesting

Peas - Begin cutting pods when the peas are well formed but with small spaces between each pea. Start at the bottom of the stem. Pick regularly to prevent pods fully  maturing on the plant. Crops over a period of 4-6 weeks.

Mangetout - Begin cutting pods at about 7.5cm/3" when the peas are just beginning to develop. Pick regularly to prevent pods fully  maturing on the plant. Crops over a period of 4-6 weeks.

Top


Potatoes

Plant Height

Up to 45cm/18" 

Time between planting and harvesting

16-22 weeks

Where to plant

Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Planting time

March- April  - temperature +10C/50F

How to plant

Most people buy "seed" potatoes. These are just small potatoes which have been certified as virus free. When you receive them usually in February, set them with the rose "eyes" uppermost in a light frost-free place. They will begin to sprout in about 6 weeks. Once the sprouts are about 2cm/3/4" long plant as below.

Open Ground - Plant the whole sprouted potato, sprouts up, about 12cm/5" deep and at least 30cm/12" apart in rows at least 60cm/2ft apart or in groups/blocks.

Containers - Best for growing small "new" potatoes. Use  containers at least 30cm/12" deep. Place a 10cm/4" layer of soil or compost in the bottom of the container then rest the sprouted potatoes (space as above) on top of the soil. Add enough soil/compost to cover them by 2.5cm/1" only. See "growing on" below.

After Germination

Protect from frosts. Keep weeded.

Growing on -  in pots

Once the shoots emerge and have reached 15cm/6", add another 10cm/4" layer of soil/compost. Repeat to within 5cm/2" of the top of the container. Make sure you keep the tubers well covered with earth so they don't go green as this is poisonous. Keep watered. This method will give you a pot full of potatoes from base to top.

Growing on - in ground

Keep weed free.  Make sure you keep the tubers well covered with earth so they don't go green as this is poisonous. Water  well in dry weather. 

Aftercare

As above.

Harvesting

Early/New Potatoes -  Flowering usually indicates that potatoes have reached an edible size. Lift as required.

Maincrop - These can be lifted as required or left in the ground until the foliage has died back. They can then be lifted for storage.

Top


Radishp

Plant Height

up to 15cm/6"

Time between sowing and harvesting

3-8  weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Late March to July  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 15cm/6" apart or in groups/blocks. Successive sowing is recommended to prevent a glut. Sow a few seeds every 2 weeks.

After Germination

Thin to 2.5cm/1" apart. Protect from birds. Keep the soil moist but not very wet.

Growing on -  in pots

Make sure plants are kept watered regularly. Avoid prolonged dry periods to prevent splitting.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Pull alternate plants as required. These crop over 16-18 weeks.

Top


Spinach

Plant Height

Up to 30cm/12" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

8-12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Outdoors late March to May  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

2.5cm/1" deep - thinly  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are large enough to handle,  thin to  7.5cm/3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well.

Growing on -  in pots

Keep very well watered and avoid dry spells.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

Once the plants have reached 15cm/6", thin again by  removing alternate plants. These thinnings can be used in cooking. Keep the plants well watered and weed free.

Harvesting

Start picking young when the leaves have reached 5-7.5cm/2-3", starting with the outer leaves. Only pick a few leaves from each plant (no more than half the total leaves per plant at any one time). Pick regularly to encourage new growth and prolong the cropping season. Crops over 16-20 weeks.

Top


Squash - see Courgette


Swede

Plant Height

Up to 25cm/10" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

20-24 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground 

Sowing time

Late May  to early June  -  temperature   +17C/63F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 37cm/15" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are large enough to handle,  thin to 5-7.5cm/2-3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well. 

Growing on -  in pots

Not recommended

Growing on - in ground

Continue thinning in stages until the plants are 23cm/9" apart. Keep watered and avoid dry spells which may  cause the roots to split or become woody.

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Start pulling when the globes are the size of a grapefruit. Crops over 16-20 weeks.

Top


Swiss Chard/Leaf/Spinach Beet

Plant Height

Up to 45cm/18" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or containers

Sowing time

April  - temperature   +12C/54F. 

How to Sow

2.5cm/1" deep, 10cm/4" apart -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks.

After Germination

When the plants are large enough to handle, thin to 20cm/8" apart

Growing on -  in pots

Keep weed free and well watered

Growing on - in ground

Thin to 30cm/12" apart. Keep weed free and well watered

Aftercare

Keep weed free and well watered. Remove any flower heads which may appear although this is unlikely.

Harvesting

Swiss Chard - start harvesting a few leaves with their  stalks from each plant when they have  reached a suitable size (about 20cm/8")  Harvest outer leaves leaving central foliage to develop.

Leaf/Spinach beet - Start harvesting a few leaves from each plant when they have  grown to about 10cm/4". Harvest outer leaves leaving central foliage to develop.


Tomato - outdoor

Plant Height

Up to 20-90cm/8" - 3ft depending on variety 

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 20 weeks

Sowing time

March - April - temperature   16-21C/60-70F

Where to Sow

Indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost. 

How to Sow

3 seeds per pot - 2cm/3/4-inch deep. 

After Germination

Keep soil moist but not too wet.

Growing on -  in pots

Harden off plants and finally move outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. As the plants get bigger and develop good root balls, divide and pot individual plants up into larger pots in stages ending with one plant per 20cm/8" container (min) or 3 per growbag. Place in a warm sheltered sunny position. 

Growing on - in ground

As above but plant  in beds or borders 45cm/ 18" apart. 

Aftercare

Water regularly, but do not keep the compost very wet. Irregular watering may cause the fruit to split. Feed with tomato food once the fruit start to swell each time you water.

Tall/Cordon varieties will need staking,  tying the plants to the support at 20cm/8" intervals. Pinch out side shoots which will appear where the leaves join the stems, when they are about 2.5cm/1" long.   Once tomatoes have developed on 4 or 5 trusses, pinch out the growing tip.

Dwarf and bush varieties need little maintenance apart from feeding and watering as above. You may wish to cover the soil beneath the plants with polythene or straw to protect the fruit.

Harvesting

Pick fruit when ripe and fully coloured as and when they mature. Crops over about 8 weeks.

Top


Turnip

Plant Height

Up to 25cm/10" 

Time between sowing and harvesting

6-12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Late March  to early June  -  temperature   +12C/54F. 

How to Sow

12mm/1/2-inch deep - very thinly -  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are large enough to handle,  thin to 5-7.5cm/2-3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well. 

Growing on -  in pots

Continue thinning in stages until the plants are 15cm/6" apart. Keep watered and avoid dry spells which may  cause the roots to split or become woody. Keep weed free.

Growing on - in ground

As above

Aftercare

As above

Harvesting

Start pulling when the globes are the size of a golf ball up to the size of a tennis ball. Harvest alternate globes. Crops over 16-20 weeks.

 

UK gardening help and assistance

gardening books