A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Your Own Produce

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We love vegetables. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of space for a veggie patch in our London studio, so we asked our good friend Nigel Ball a few questions. Nigel is a Member of the RHS and National Vegetable Society and has 34 years experience growing crops so we thought his advice was pretty sound. Check out what he had to say…

I’ve only got a window box, are there any vegetables I can grow in a small space?

Great vegetables to grow in a window box would be lettuce, spring onions, radish, coriander, parsley, spinach and dwarf french beans. You’d be surprised what vegetables will thrive in a small space!

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Are there any herbs or vegetables that can be grown indoors?

Lamb’s lettuce, pea shoots, cress and basil will all thrive when grown in a light spot on your window sill.

What are good vegetables to start growing in my garden as a beginner?

In terms of vegetables you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, beetroot and courgettes. The bonus is, there are loads of really easy recipes to make with these ingredients so once they are ready to harvest you can get cooking straight away.

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Should I be using any pesticides or fertiliser in my allotment?

Fertilisers like manure, blood fish or bone meal will give your vegetables a real boost and are worth looking into. Restrict the use of pesticides if you can and be sure to read the instructions carefully. You will have to wait a specific length of time before your produce is safe to eat and they may be harmful to animals, so watch out if you have pets. Always read the label!

What fruit and vegetables are in season at this time of year?

Autumn raspberries are now coming in season loads of runner and french beans are ready to be picked. The UK’s hedgerows are also coming into their own in the next month or so. Look out for elderberries, crab apples, rose hips and blackberries.

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What time of year should I plant different vegetables to get the best results?

Plant and sow your seeds as soon as the weather starts to warm up. You can sow in a greenhouse, on a heated bench or window sill to get seedlings moving. A lot of veg starts being sown in open ground around March and April to give them maximum day length.

What tools should I buy as a beginner to help me get started?

If you’ve got a spade, fork and a pair of good quality secateurs you won’t go far wrong.

Do I need to buy vegetable plants or is it better to start from seed?

Seed is cheaper to buy but plants are quicker to get going. Work out which is best for you depending on how much time and space you have.

What are your 5 top tips for a beginner wanting to start growing their own produce?

– Choose five crops to grow and grow them well.

– Choose good quality compost and seed.

– Prepare your soil well before planting & keep weed free.

– If growing in window boxes replace compost between crops.

– Regular watering to all crops will bring you success!

Have you got any great tips for allotment success? Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

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