Happy New Year to you all, we hope you have had a wonderful festive season! If, like us, you have slightly over indulged over the last month or so, you are probably trying to watch what you eat and maybe even trying the odd evening jog. Whilst we can’t help you with the latter, we thought you might like a little help in how to eat healthier.
“Clean eating” can seem so daunting, it seems like you need to have a fridge stock that would make the supermarket look bare and an abundance of exotic herbs and spices in your cupboard – this is not the case! We’re here to show you some healthy foods that you can grow in your back garden that are nutritious, easy to grow and most importantly, delicious…
- Sow: Feb - April
- Plant Out: May - June
- Harvest: July – October
The humble tomato, arguably, one of the easiest and most fruitful crops you can grow. Sprinkle the seeds thinly on the surface of good quality compost and cover them with about 1.5mm of compost and water lightly with a fine-rose watering can. When the seedlings are large enough to handle transfer them into pots. Water tomatoes little and often for the best results – they need lots of water and feed in order to produce a fruitful crop. Feed your tomatoes with a general liquid feed until the first truss has formed and then alternate with a high potash feed. You can start picking and enjoying your tomatoes when they have ripened to their full colour. Please see individual varieties for what this colour should be.
- Sow: March – September
- Harvest: May - October
Sow the lettuce seeds in a line and cover with about ¼ of an inch of soil. As the leaves get to roughly an inch tall, thin the leaves by cutting them leaving 4 inches in between each lettuce plant.
Lettuce is ready to be harvested when a firm heart has formed, or for loose-leaf lettuce when it looks big enough to eat. Cut the lettuce rather than pulling it, this will encourage more crops to grow.
- Plant: All year round
- Harvest: July – September
Blueberries like moist, well-drained, acidic soil in a sunny and sheltered spot. They need the PH level of the soil to be 5.5 or lower. To lower the level, add sulphur chips.
Fruits start to ripen from mid-summer, once they change from green to their distinctive dusty-blue colour, they can be harvested. Not all of the fruit will ripen at the same time so pick at it several times to enjoy lots of delicious fruit.
- Sow: April
- Plant: May – June
- Harvest: July – September
This one is a little more of a challenge for you experienced growers! A cantaloupe melon is the best variety for us to grow in the here in the UK. For best results grow in a greenhouse or cold frame in fertile, moisture retaining and well-drained soil.
Sow the seeds 1cm deep and put into a propagator, you can plant two seeds to each 7.5cm pot - keep the strongest seedling and pot on as required.
In late May/June harden off the plants and place into final planting position with organic matter and multi-purpose fertiliser in the planting hole. It is imperative to keep them well watered. After the fifth leaf pinch out the plants to encourage side shoots and then select four strong sideshoots and remove all of the others - after the sixth leaf of the sideshoot, pinch out the tip.
Feed the plants every 2 weeks with liquid food and once small fruit starts to develop, remove all but the best four on each stem.
Melons will give off their signature sweet scent when they are ready to harvest – at this point they can be cut from the vine.
For individual growing instructions please refer to seed packets. We hope this has given you some grow-spiration, we'd love to know how you get on!