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5 beginner-friendly vegetables to plant this spring and summer

 

Are you feeling the “grow your own” bug, but you don’t want to wait until next spring to start? Here are some suggestions for vegetables that you can plant between May and August!

French Beans

French beans are perfect for first-time growers and tight spaces. There are many varieties, and the more you pick, the more you will produce; climbing beans will need support, whereas dwarf varieties can easily grow in pots.

  • Sow: April to July
  • Harvest: June/July/August/September
  • Site: Avoid waterlogged soils and make sure that the plants receive plenty of sun
  • Growing: French beans don’t like frost, so they are perfect to grow in late spring and summer – if you decide to grow them earlier in the year, sow them indoors in pots. Sow two beans per hole and remove the weakest after gemination. Space dwarf varieties around 15cm apart, and climbers around 20cm.

Beetroot

  • Sow: March to June. Early spring (bolt-resistant varieties) and others in mid-spring to mid-summer.
  • Harvest: July to September
  • Site: They prefer deep sandy soils, but they will survive in most soils if they are well prepared and in a sunny spot.
  • Growing: Prepare the soil in autumn, adding plenty of compost. Sow seed about 2.5 cm apart in rows and then thin them out to 7.5 cm for small ones or 15 cm if you want them to mature to full-sized roots. Water during dry spells and keep weed-free.

Sprouting Broccoli

Broccoli is a delicious winter vegetable with beautiful and tasty spears in purple and white.

  • Sow: April/May, and plant out in June/July
  • Harvest: January/February/March
  • Site: Sunny and well-conditioned but firm soil. They can do well in containers and window boxes, as long as they don’t have competition from other plants.
  • Growing: Sow in spring direct into a well-prepared seedbed, or plant out small plants in early and mid-summer. They like very firm ground, so don’t be afraid to trad it over first. Feed in late summer and water in dry spells.

Kale

Great for producing healthy fresh veg throughout the winter when there’s little else around.

  • Sow: April to June
  • Harvest: December to April
  • Site: Rich firm soil – neutral to alkaline
  • Growing: Sow in small pots of seed trays, harden off and plant out from May onwards. Space around 45cm.

Lettuce and salad leaves

The easiest way to grow these leaves is as a ‘cut-and-come-again’ crop. They are very easy, and they can be grown in beds, raised beds, growbags, or large pots.

  • Sow: May to August
  • Harvest: June to October
  • Site: Sunny, well drained – peat-free multipurpose is fine for containers
  • Growing: Water the soil first, to stop the small seed being displaced, then sow thinly and sieve a little compost over the top. Water regularly using a fine rose on a watering can and feed every two weeks with a weak organic liquid feed.

Creating our own edible garden connects us with the natural world, improves our physical and mental health and contributes to eco-friendly and sustainable food production. If you want to learn to grow your own fruit and veg, Joe Swift shows you how with practical, easy-to-follow advice.

 

Edible Garden is out now.