It is difficult right now if you are confined to your home so why not start growing your own food. It’s a great stress-buster
In these uncertain times a lot of people are having a strong desire to grow their own fruit and veg. There is no better way to nurture your soul than getting your hands in the soil and a great way to boost your well-being. And as a bonus the end result will be tasty, healthy veg for you to eat. You can buy seeds by mail order, although expect high demand for seeds at the moment. Alternatively, if your local garden centre also sells food they may still be open (during the tight restrictions the UK is currently under when this was written) and are offering compost and seeds and other garden products. Some may deliver or they may have a call and collect service.
Top 5 crops to sow now
1 Salad leaves
You can get packets of mixed salad leaves which often contain lettuce, rocket, spinach, mizuna, mustard seeds etc. sow in small troughs or pots or straight into the ground. If you have some old packets of seeds from last year you can mix them together and sow. You could use brassica seed such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower. Chard and beetroot, carrot, onions, lettuce, pak choi etc. Avoid tomato and aubergine seed you don’t want to eat their leaves!
2 French beans
A great crop to grow. So prolific and so easy. Sow the seeds four to a 31/2in (9cm) pot or sow seed individually in small cell trays. Use multi-purpose compost or soil from the garden if you just can’t get hold of any compost.
Grow in a large pot filled with soil or multi-purpose compost. Sow reasonably close together about 5mm apart and be prepared to remove a few seedlings (which you can eat) to allow space between the growing plants.
One of the quickest crops to grow. Just sow in short rows every couple of weeks. This will prevent a glut as you don’t want too many all at once. When they have formed a small bulbous base harvest before they get too woody.
A great crop to start off with if you haven’t grown veg before. You can buy tiny cell trays and you fill the tray with multi-purpose compost and sow one seed per cell. Once the plants are 5cm (2in) high you can plant out into the garden or in pots.
Alternatively, sow straight into the ground at the end of March beginning of April. Prepare the soil by digging it over and then raking. Use a piece of string to make a line. Using the end of a hoe or a stick make a little groove in the soil along the line and about 5mm deep. Sow the seed spacing it about 2.5cm (1in) apart. When the lettuce comes through remove a few plants along the row as they grow (you can eat the thinnings) to allow space for the plants to grow and mature.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.