Grow Your Own Vegetables

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Posted by The Wares Team on 23rd May 2020

In a previous blog post, we talked about how home baking has seen a surge in interest since the Covid-19 lockdown began in the UK, with people finding that they have both the time and the enthusiasm to try some new activities, coupled with a desire for a back to basics approach to food. Today, we’re going to look at another positive change that has come out of the lockdown restrictions - the growing interest that people have in gardening, and in particular, in growing their own vegetables.

Whether you have a huge patch, an allotment or a window box, there’s something you can grow yourself and there’s a huge amount of satisfaction to be had from producing some of the ingredients in the meals you cook. So read on to discover how easy it is to get started with growing vegetables and what you can do with those tasty veg once you’ve grown them.

Let’s start with potatoes

For many new vegetable gardeners, the first place to start is with potatoes as these aren’t too fussy about soil or aspect, and they grow reasonably quickly. And of course, pretty much everyone loves potatoes, which is not something that can be said for every vegetable! To grow potatoes, you need to source some seed potatoes. As garden centres are re-opening across the UK, this shouldn’t be a problem.

After chitting them in a dark place for a few days, plant them in well-dug soil in trenches that are 1ft deep. Leave the dug out soil at the sides of the trenches in order to ‘earth up’ the potatoes as they start to grow, starting from when the plants are roughly 15-20cm tall...You’ll need to do this several times as the stems of the potato plants grow, covering up about half of the stem each time.

If you don’t have the space to dig traditional beds for your potatoes, you can grow them in a container, or even in a plastic compost sack...you’ll still need to earth them up from time to time, but they should grow well in a sack or container.

Once you have grown and harvested your potatoes, you’ll no doubt want to enjoy them straight away. Salad varieties are delicious hot or cold, whilst larger potatoes work brilliantly in soups or as a topping for meals such as fish pie or cottage pie.

In terms of preserving potatoes, you can dehydrate them to create potato crisps, or there's the option to can them for use in the winter months. Use large glass jars for this and ensure you have scrupulously sterilised those jars before use.

Growing Beans

Another firm favourite with those who grow their own vegetables are beans. Whether you choose to grow broad beans, runner beans, dwarf French beans or fancy Borlotti beans, you can’t really go wrong. They will all need some form of support and you can achieve this using traditional bamboo canes, or by making a frame using stout poles cut from your garden trees or shrubs.

Watch out for aphids and greenfly during the growing season and consider some companion planting if this is likely to be a problem in your garden. Once your beans start to crop, you’ll need to harvest them frequently, possibly every day, in order to prevent them becoming tough and stringy. Again, it’s easy to preserve beans - French beans are great pickled, whilst kidney beans and Borlotti beans are fabulous for dehydrating. Check out our range of kitchen utensils for bean slicers to make life easier if you think you’ll have a huge crop to process.

Growing Salad Crops

Another area of vegetable growing that is quick and easy to try is salad crops. You can even grow cress and cut-and-come-again lettuce in a small container on a kitchen windowsill. If you have a little more room, try a tomato plant in a pot, so that you can easily bring it indoors if the weather turns bad.

There are even cherry tomato varieties that can be grown in hanging baskets, so you don’t need any floor space or garden soil at all! Other salad crops that are quick and easy include radishes, spring onions and cucumber, although you might find that cucumbers do best if they are grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Chillies are fun to grow too and since they don’t get too big, you can grow these in pots on a sunny windowsill indoors.

Even if you don’t manage a comprehensive vegetable patch, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had from growing just one or two things to eat, even if it’s only herbs to throw in your recipes. If you do plan to grow lots, be sure to stock up on glass jars for preserving your crops, and check out our range of kitchen utensils for handy tools to help you prep them all.

Do share your veg-growing adventures with us, via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - we all love to see your success stories!