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Grow vegetables from seeds
Broad Beans to Brussels Sprouts

This is a very rough guide to growing Broad Beans, French/Kidney Beans, Beetroots, Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts from seeds in the UK, but even within the UK, the climate varies, so due allowance must be made for local conditions.

As well as variations in climate, there are also numerous different named varieties of the different vegetables - always read the seed packet for detailed guidance for particular varieties.

When sowing seeds, always mark the line of seeds to show the position and label the rows so that when the seedlings come up, you know what they are.


Terms used below:

Drill - a shallow depression into the bottom of which seed is sown - normally formed by pulling a hoe or a gardening trowel (backwards) through the surface of a prepared bed. Drills are used where the planting depth is relatively shallow and seeds are planted close together. Once the seeds have been sown, they are covered by pulling a hoe over the surface of the bed to fill the drills.

Seed bed - a specific area of the garden where seeds are sown for germination and later the seedlings are 'planted out' to other areas. The area is normally level and with a fine soil, this helps the young plants to grow and makes it easy to lift the plants for planting out.


Beans - Broad

Where to sow Outdoors in open ground

 

Site/Soil Well dug, preferably manured the previous Winter.

 

Sowing time November (autumn sowing) - only recommended in mild areas with a sheltered, free draining plot

March to May (main sowing)

 

How to sow 5cm (2 inch) deep - 20cm (8 inch) between Broad Bean seeds - in rows 60cm (24 inches) apart. There should be no need for thinning of Broad Bean seedlings.

 

Time from sowing to harvest About 26 weeks (autumn sowing)

About 14 weeks (spring sowing)

 

 

 

 

Beans - French/Kidney

Where to sow Outdoors in open ground

 

Site/Soil Unshaded - Well dug, slightly acid, moisture retentive, well manured

 

Sowing time April under cloches (remove cloches in late May)
OR
Late May - early July

 

How to sow and after care Sow French/Kidney Bean seeds in 5cm (2 inches) deep drills, one bean seed every 10cm (4 inches), with about 45cm (18 inches) between rows.

Support the French/Kidney Bean plants as they grow using short twigs or bean sticks - for climbing varieties use longer sticks for netting.

Time from sowing to harvest About 8 to 12 weeks
   
 

Beetroot

Where to sow Outdoors in open ground or start off in containers at least 20cm (8 inches) wide

 

Site/Soil Unshaded - Light sandy soil; lime soil if acid.

 

Sowing time For early cropping Beetroot (late May), sow the seeds in pots in February, keep above 13 degree° C (55 degree° F).

From mid April onwards, Beetroot seeds can been sown directly into a prepared bed.

Keep sowing new batches of Beetroot every month to extend the cropping period as necessary upto the end of June.

To speed germination, soak the Beetroot seeds in tepid water for 24 hours, sow while the seeds are still wet. The first Beetroot seedlings should appear within 10 to 14 days.

 

How to sow In pots: When the Beetroot plants are about 10 cm (4 inches) high, harden off the plants over two weeks and then plant them out initially (for early crops) under polythene or cloches. Plant 5 cm (2 inch) between plants with 30 cm (12 inches) between rows.

In open ground sow two Beetroot seeds together about 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep, spaced about 5 cm (2 inch) along the row with 30 cm (12 inches) between rows. When the Beetroot seedlings are about 2.5cm (1 inch) high, thin out where both seeds have germinated, discard the thinnings.

Time from sowing to harvest

About 11-16 weeks

To store To store late croppings Beetroot, lift on a dry day in October, leave the beetroot on the surface to dry. Twist off the leaves to avoid bleeding (i.e. don't cut off the leaves). Store in dry sand with the beetroots not touching each other on trays in a dark, cool (frost free) place.

In mild areas where the soil is not susceptible to water-logging, beetroot can be left in the ground provided they are protected from frost.

   
 

Broccoli

Where to sow Outdoors in a seed bed

 

Site/Soil Unshaded - rich, moisture retentive - not freshly manured (best done previous Autumn) - lime soil if acid.

Avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the brassica family.

 

Sowing time Late April to May

 

How to sow Sow broccoli seeds very thinly in 1.2cm (½ inch) deep drills with about 15cm (6 inches) between.

Thin the broccoli seedlings as they grow to give spacing between plants of about 7.5cm (3 inches) apart.

When the broccoli seedlings are about 7.5cm (3 inches) high (June or July), transplant them to their final growing position. Water the seed bed the day before lifting and planting the broccoli plants firmly about 2.5cm (1 inch) deeper than they were growing in the seed bed and with a spacing between plants of about 30cm (12 inches) for Green sprouting varieties, or 45cm (18 inches) for Purple and White varieties.

Time from sowing to harvest About 12 weeks (Green sprouting varieties.)

About 44 weeks (Purple and White varieties.)

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts

Where to sow Outdoors in a seed bed

 

Site/Soil Unshaded - rich, moisture retentive - not freshly manured (best done previous Autumn) - lime soil if acid.

Avoid planting in an area where the previous crop was of the brassica family.

 

Sowing time Early March under cloches

Late March to mid April

 

How to sow and after care Sow brussel sprout seeds very thinly in drills 1.2cm (½ inch) deep with about rows 15cm (6 inches) between rows.

As the brussel sprout seedlings grow, thin them out to about 7.5cm (3 inches) apart.

Once the brussel sprout plants are 10 to 15cm (4 to 6 inches) high (late May/early June), transplant them to the final growing position. Water the rows in the seed bed the day before lifting. Plant the brussel sprout seedlings in rows with their lowest leaves just above the soil level and spacing the plants about 75cm (2½ ft) apart.

 

Time from sowing to harvest About 28 weeks (early varieties)

About 36 weeks (late varieties)

   
 
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