Cultivating plants is not only a relaxing, therapeutic hobby that gets you outside – it’s one that you can enjoy throughout the year if you know what you are doing. If you’ve done gardening before, you’ll know that to be successful, you will need to be strict with yourself and keep up with the jobs required.
Whilst gardening can be laborious, it’s extremely rewarding. There really is no better feeling than relaxing on a hot summer’s day enjoying the fruits of your labour, whether that involves eating a meal cooked with your very own homegrown vegetables or simply watching the wildlife gather in your garden from your brand new traditional wicker furniture.
Sit back, relax and read these three tips that will help this summer to be the best you’ve seen when it comes to your nature haven!
Select your plants wisely
Picking crops with a high yield or that are quick to grow is the most efficient way to grow plants. Another benefit of growing your own vegetables is the ability to share the harvest with your friends and family. Depending on what you grow, too, you can end up with years and years of growth!
You may have started gardening to try and save a bit of money. When it comes to vegetables, the most cost-effective ones include:
- Curly kale – low in calories, versatile and also healthy. Takes six weeks to grow
- Tomatoes – do not require much space so you can grow them in a small garden – or even a balcony. They take twelve weeks to grow but each plant can produce fresh tomatoes every single day for up to six years!
- Lettuce – one packet of seeds will give you five months’ worth!
- Broccoli – takes between eight and twelve weeks to grow, each plant offers around two pounds of broccoli
- Potatoes – each potato plant can produce around nine potatoes
- Asparagus – whilst it can take up to two years for the plant to be ready for harvest, it can continue to produce for up to twenty years!
High yielding plants include:
- Radishes – ready after four to six weeks of sowing
- Tomatoes – during a good season, you could yield around 20 pounds per plant.
- Cucumbers – if you are growing them to pickle or give away, go for the vining varieties. You can grow these in a small space but ensure you have a vertical trellis for them to grow up. Pick these when immature for the best flavour.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes – salads, baking and mashing
- Courgettes and squash
- Leafy herbs,
- Spring onions
- Beetroot – you can also eat the leaves
Vegetables you can grow in a plot garden:
- Borlotti beans
- Broad beans
- Brussel sprouts
- French beans
- Perpetual spinach
- Spring onions
- Swiss chard
Plant them right
By growing your plants vertically, you can make sure your garden is as packed as possible. Some of the plants you can do this with include climbing peas and vine tomatoes. Try to do this using the side of the flower bed to avoid shading your ground grown crops. Get a supportive trellis to ensure the plants have the support they need as their fruit grows and they become weightier.
There are many plants you can group together to make the best use of space and deter any pests.
- Beetroot, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbages, onions, swiss chard
- Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli
- Carrots, cabbages, lettuce, leek, onions, peas, radishes
- Potatoes, corn, cabbages, beans, squash, peas
- Tomatoes, onion, cabbages, carrots
- Onions, carrots, cabbages, parsnips, lettuce, beetroot
- Radishes, spinach, peas, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, parsnips
- Swiss chard, onions, beetroot, cabbages
- Peas, beans, carrots, corn, radishes, cucumber, turnip
- Cucumber, beans, corn, cabbages, radishes
- Lettuce, radishes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot
- Parsnips, onions, lettuce, radishes
If space is an issue, you can try growing in hanging baskets and staggering rows.
Extend the season
There are many things you can do to extend the season more to enjoy more growing time. Polytunnels, cold frames, cloches and row covers will all raise the temperature around plants enough to stretch the growing season by a couple of weeks at either end.
Cloches, for example, will help to warm and dry out the soil in spring, allowing sowing of early vegetables such as salads to begin up to two weeks sooner. Similarly, placing row covers over the ground later in the year could extend the season just long enough for one final crop of something like turnips.
You might be wondering what a polytunnel is. It is an elongated, polythene covered frame under which seedlings and plants can be grown. This provides plants with protection and can extend the growing season by several weeks. They come in various shapes and sizes with each polytunnel creating its own microclimate that can enable different types of plants to grow. This means that, even though usually certain fruits and vegetables wouldn’t naturally grow in our climate, a polytunnel helps it to grow.
They can be used to protect your crops and plants from the destructive elements of the weather such as strong winds or hailstones. They allow any gardener to grow any type of plants, fruits, and vegetables in any region. They are able to grow that which wouldn’t normally be able to grow in their region’s climate.
Polytunnel usage can be compared to glass greenhouses. These are also used for a similar purpose in regions with milder temperatures. But there are various differences between the two which we’ll touch upon in more detail later in the guide.
A polytunnel is not only known by that name, so you may have heard of it in the past being referred to as something else. It is also sometimes called a polyhouse, hoop greenhouse, high tunnel or hoop house.
Whilst simple, these steps will ensure you have a high-yield garden in no time!