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How to grow vegetables

Aubergine
Aubergines are best planted in pots in multi-purpose compost to avoid cold border soil in spring.  Look out for greenfly and red spider and spray with a mild insecticide if they become a problem.

Bean (Runner)
Grow up canes, or lattice fencing at the back of your bedding or borders, so that the plant has something to twine into or around. If you can see bulbous lumps on the pods discard them, as they will be tough.

Beetroot
Do not separate the plants as this will spoil your crop, plant as a bunch and the roots will make their own space. Beetroot can be planted amongst your bedding as it makes attractive dot plants with its red and green foliage.

Brassicas
i.e. cabbage, cauliflowers, sprouts etc are very easy to grow. They can however be affected by clubroot; large lumps on roots which can stop the crop growing. To prevent against this, put a good dressing of lime on the ground and dig in well before planting. To harvest sprouts from august to march you need to plant ‘early’, ‘mid’ and ‘late’ varieties.

Cucumbers
Ideally grown in a greenhouse up a string with the plant twisted clockwise around it. Take out all fruit up to 50cm high; take out all side shoots up to 15cm from the top string. Allow 4 side shoots to grow at the top of the string and then allow to run wild, only trimming back when the shoots reach 50cm from the ground.

Leeks
Ideally plant up to 3 plants per hole. The deeper you plant them the longer the stems at harvest, providing you do not bury the growing tip.

Lettuce
Whichever variety of lettuce you choose, you need to plant every 3 weeks to have lettuce throughout the summer, continental mixed will give you the best mix and spread of harvest.

Marrow/Courgette
Needs at least 60cm x 60cm of space, but can be grown amongst your bedding as a dot plant.

Onions
Plant up to 8 Plants in a bunch and the onions will push themselves out and make room. Few onions are grown commercially from sets anymore. For the earliest hard onion plant Japanese onions in September.

Peppers
Plant in a grow bag or mounded soil in your greenhouse as they suffer from ‘cold feet’. If you feel the plant is not doing very well, remove the first fruit from the first joint of the plant; this will help the plant grow better.

Shallots
Plant up to 8 plants in a bunch. Plants have the advantage over sets as they harvest quicker and there is no need to cut the bulbs apart.

Tomatoes
These are a good old favourite, but things are changing with new varieties appearing all the time. Instead of buying the usual varieties, try the beefsteak or a new supermarket type and see the difference in quality. Your outdoor bush or trailing tomato will crop earlier if you plant them in a large pot in April and grow in a greenhouse or conservatory until late May when you can put them out on your patio. Don’t forget to feed them regularly when the fruit is developing.