If you haven’t started dreaming about living off the land and being self-sustaining at least once during lockdown, then you have missed out. We know already that gardening is good for your well-being all-round, but it can be good for bragging rights, too.
Not that we’re encouraging you to grow the largest potato known to man (although, think of all the ways in which one single potato can add to your waistline – worth it), but smart planting some summer crops can actually stretch quite far for feeding a family.
And hey, do you know how good it feels to put stuff on the table for dinner saying that you made it all by yourself? We know making small humans is impressive, but growing something edible is a unique feeling, too.
Veggies are also a great way to add to the biodiversity of gardens - which means you are doing your bit for the bees.
You don’t even need anything super fancy to get going. Other than the seeds or seedlings for these lovely crops, of course. No space? No problem. Even if you have nothing but a balcony, you can still twiddle your aspiring green thumbs.
If you’re looking for a little backyard inspo to get a little veggie garden going over the summer, these veggies are perfect for newbies.
They’ll keep your kitchen garden ticking over outside the summer months, these veggies are all about substance over style. And like we said - you don’t even need a field or plot of land to get cracking as tubs, raised beds or recycled containers will do the job.
Good for your eyesight or not, these roots are happy looking after themselves for the most part, just make sure they have plenty of sun, great drainage and go easy on extra fertilizer or nutrients in the soil.
Sow your seeds thinly and thin out the weakest seedlings once they’re showing good growth. Brush soil away from the top of the root to check on their size and pull them up whenever you’re ready.
White, yellow, brown or red, you can gain impressive yields with this staple crop. Dig some compost into your soil mix and add some general fertilizer before thinly sowing your seeds or planting out your bulbs about six inches (15cm) apart with the roots fully below the surface.
They’re ready to pull up once the green tops turn yellow but you can pick onions earlier as scallions if you like. Place or hang them in a dry, ventilated space for a week or so before storing.
Another root crop you can sow directly into your container from seed. Just imagine the full-size beet when you space them out, about four inches apart.
Add a nitrogen feed once the seedlings are making progress and water regularly. You’ll be able to see the size of your crop breaking through the top of the soil and you can harvest from when they reach the size of a golf ball.
You can get creative here, with the humble spud happy to grow in trenches, used compost bags, old car tyres… you name it.
Pop your seed potato in whatever contraption you choose, covering with a couple of inches of soil, then mound up the soil around the green shoots as they head for the skies. Add plenty of water and sunlight and you’ll be digging up tubers for the family in no time.
Only one plant needed in a container up to 24 inches (60cm) in diameter but you’ll get plenty of value from any number of varieties, which you can even grow up a trellis or wall.
Plenty of sunlight and water needed, with good drainage a must to prevent rotting – you can even pop in a few marigold plants alongside to distract the pesky pests.
Bonus points if it come out in an unusual shape.
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