Charlbury Sharecroppers

Tips on Vegetable Growing

Easy plants to grow

1.Runner beans (best return of all)
2.Radishes (but only if you like them!)
3.Lettuce (sow a few at a time for a succession)
4.Leaf beet spinach
7.Onion sets
8.Broad beans
11.Tomatoes (buy plants)
12.Courgettes (buy plants)
13.Dwarf French beans
16.Parsnips (in the years they germinate well!)

Growing Tips

1. Just make a start - don't be too ambitious, just keep it simple. You will learn loads from the experience and the following year will be much better.

2. Grow things you know your family will eat.

3. Buy one or more compost bins to compost both your kitchen and garden waste - you'll save the expense of having to buy compost each year.

4. Read instructions on seed packet carefully.

5. Some things like new potatoes, courgettes, perpetual spinach, and runner beans are really easy to grow, they are prolific and will therefore save you lots of money compared with buying them - and they will be a lot fresher and taste better!

6. Grow cut and come again lettuces (Salad Bowl) in large pots by the back door. Carrots also do well like this - you can protect them from slug damage by using a copper collar round the pot.

7. Bran makes a very good barrier to protect seedlings from slugs, it dehydrates the slugs - replenish after rain. Beer traps are also good.

8. Plant leek and sprouting broccoli seedlings out in June/July after the shallots and new potatoes have finished to get two crops from the same patch. The leeks can be dug up through the winter and the sprouting broccoli will be ready the following April.

9. Let one plant of perpetual spinach set seed the following spring, this will create new seedlings nearby - very carefully replant these in a new patch and water well.

10. Every time you go to check your veg plot, pull up a handful of weeds and put them in your compost bin (or use a trowel – don’t snap them off). Every few days pick weeds out carefully by hand in rows of seedlings (a stitch in time).

11. Water carrot seeds every day for a fortnight – or longer until seeds have germinated and are starting to grow well - don't let carrots dry out as they develop.

12. Use fleece to protect early lettuces they will grow much quicker. Lettuce seeds need watering like all small seeds but hot weather prevents germination – sow in a cool spell of weather.

13. Ask fellow gardeners for advice if anything is unclear.

14. Sow small seeds thinly.

15. Sow beans in root trainer modules in glasshouse for a reliable start. The modules can be used again and again and really do produce plants with excellent root growth.

16. If you grow peas then sow them in succession and whatever you do remember to pick them as soon as they are ready! They soon get past it and maggoty.

17. If you grow sweetcorn, plant them together in blocks rather than rows - they need to be close together for pollination. Don't plant them amongst other plants because they will compete too much.

18. Don’t let weeds go to seed or your problem will be ongoing.

19. Don't put any diseased plant material (e.g. potato tops suffering from blight) into the compost bin.

20. Be prepared to use Tumbleweed (or Roundup) which contains Glyphosate on couch grass and bindweed and other tough weeds. Once these tough weeds have been cleared, hoeing and hand weeding will keep on top of them.

21. Soft fruits (raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries) are very simple to grow and don't actually need fruit cages. Birds only go for redcurrants and strawberries, so net strawberries and throw old net curtains over redcurrant bushes.

22. Probably the most important tip of all is remember to pick things when they are at their best - after all the effort in growing them - don't waste them!

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