Artichoke

  • Artichoke are heavy feeders, so cool season nitrogen fixing plants like beans and peas can be planted nearby.
  • Plants do not usually flower the first year
  • Prefers deep, fertile, well-drained soils high in organic matter.
  • Keep soil moist throughout the season
  • Can apply a liquid high potassium fertiliser every 2 weeks during periods of active growth to encourage flower buds to form.
  • Keep weeds out of artichoke beds.
  • Give plants thick mulch, especially in Northern growing areas.

 

Aubergine

  • Prefers fertile, well drained, slightly acid soil that is high in organic matter
  • Wait until weather has settled and all chance of frost has passed before transplanting.
  • To help reduce disease, do not plant aubergines in the same location more than once every 3 or 4 years.
  • Stake and tie in plants as they grow. When plants are 30cm (12in) high, remove the tip from the main stem.
  • Water regularly and feed with high potassium liquid fertiliser every 2 weeks once the first fruit has set.
  • Best to grow inside as they like sunshine and warm growing conditions.
  • Mist the foliage regularly (at least twice daily) with tepid water to discourage red spider mite and help fruit set.
  • Remove remaining flowers when 5 or 6 fruits have set. Cultivators producing small or round fruit can be allowed to produce more.

 

Beetroot

  • For continuous harvest make successive planting every 3 weeks
  • Cut rather than pull plants
  • Good for adding minerals to the soil through composting the leaves which have up to 25g per sentence magnesium
  • Beetroot will grow in any well-drained soil but requires fertile conditions.
  • Prior to sowing dig in around a bucketful of well-rotted garden compost and rake in a handful of Growmore or general fertiliser
  • If plants are not growing strongly, apply 30g per sq. m of high nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate ammonia and water in.
  • Water every 10-14 days in dry spells

 

Broad Beans

  • Taller varieties will need support. Place a stake at each corner of the double row and every 1.5m (5ft) round the rows and running string around the stakes at 30cm (1ft) intervals from the ground.
  • Do not plant until danger of frost has passed and soil is warm.
  • Water plants when they begin to flower and again two weeks later – watering at other times is only needed during prolonged droughts.
  • A three year rotation helps to reduce some diseases
  • Can tolerate partial shade but will reduce yield.
  • Ensure you do not add to much nitrogen to soil as beans fix nitrogen into soil, they do not need extra.
  • If there is too much nitrogen the plant will produce a lot of leaves and little fruit.

 

Broccoli

  • Plant Chamomile and garlic nearby to add flavour
  • Plant Rosemary and Sage close by to deter cabbage moth
  • Plant Thyme nearby to deter cabbageworm
  • Before planting add compost to soil this is a heavy feeder.
  • If clubroot is a problem raise the pH by adding lime
  • Can tolerate light shade but it will slow maturity
  • Transplant when plant has 4 or 5 true leaves.
  • Broccoli prefers fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil
  • When young broccoli plants are 10-15cm (4-6in) high, transplant to their growing positions leaving 45cm (18in) between them.
  • Before lifting the plants water them well and water well again after transplanting.
  • Water every 10-14 days in dry periods.
  • Add high nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate of ammonia when plants about 20cm (8in) tall

 

Brussels Sprouts

  • Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity
  • Frost improves flavour
  • Chamomile and garlic planted with them will add flavour
  • Rosemary and Sage deter cabbage moth
  • Thyme deters cabbageworm
  • Choose a sheltered, sunny side, protected from strong winds
  • Water every 10-14 days in periods of dry weather.
  • Plants benefit from a nitrogen fertiliser such as dried poultry manure pellets.
  • Mound soil around the base in September to support the plants
  • Add up to bucketful of well-rotted manure planting or sowing add in 150g per sq m (50oz per sq yd) of Growmore or other general purpose fertiliser will help growth.

 

Cabbage

  • Over watering can result in heads that split before they are fully mature
  • Cover seed beds with fleece or enviromesh to protect against cabbage root fly
  • Cabbages need a sunny site and firm soil
  • Before planting cabbage make sure the soil is well firmed by shuffling on your heels, then rake it flat.
  • Do not put in the same spot as any other brassicas grown the previous year.
  • Transplant to their final growing place when the plant has five or six true leaves, setting the lowest leaves at ground level. Water well the day before moving, firm in well after transplanting and puddle in the plants with plenty of water (this means filling the hole with water several times before adding soil). If you puddle in well they will need little water.
  • In prolonged dry spells, a thorough soak every 10 days will be enough. When the heads begin to form, generous watering will greatly improve head size.
  • Feed with high nitrogen fertiliser before they get too big.
  • During harvest cut the stem below the head but do not pull the remaining plant
  • Chamomile and garlic planted with them will add flavour
  • Rosemary and Sage deter cabbage moth
  • Thyme deters cabbageworm

 

Celeriac

  • Celeriac is a moisture-loving plant that needs fertile, organic, rich, moisture retentive soil and prefers full sun
  • Keep soil constantly moist – it should never be allowed to dry out.
  • Water before the onset of drought
  • Mulching helps too
  • Keep the ground weed free
  • Leave in the ground until required and cover with thick layer of bracken or straw during cold winter months to prevent ground freezing.
  • Transplant celeriac out by the end of Spring only after remaining risk of frost has past
  • As the plant matures remove the outer leaves as they fall horizontal, to expose the crown and allow it to develop.
  • Remove side shoots if they appear

 

Celery

  • Transplant celery out by the end of Spring only after any remaining frost has passed.
  • Work organic fertiliser or compost into the soil prior to planting
  • Harden off seedlings before transplanting by reducing watering slightly and keeping them outdoors for a couple of hours a day.
  • Celery is a heavy feeder and requires a lot of water. Make sure to provide plenty of water during the entire growing season, especially during hot weather.
  • If the stalks become dry and small they are not getting enough water
  • Add mulch as needed, to help retain soil moisture and add nutrients.
  • Tie growing celery stalks together to keep them from sprawling.
  • A light dressing of a high nitrogen fertiliser once they are established improves crops

 

Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower heads must be shaded from the sun to maintain the pure white colour.
  • Cauliflower does best in very fertile soil and digging in a bucketful of well-rotted manure or organic matter before planting and raking in 150g per sq m (50oz per sq yd) of Growmore or other general purpose fertiliser will help growth.
  • Firm the soil by treading before planting.
  • Water the plant well the day before transplanting and make a hole deep enough to hold the plant with the lowest leaves at ground level. Fill the hole repeatedly with water. This will fill the hole with soil and ensure the plant is sitting in a large area of moist soil. Firm the soil very well against the roots.
  • Water well during dry weather, watering every 10 days and apply sufficient water to thoroughly wet the root zone. Once they are growing well add nitrogen fertiliser such as sulphate of ammonia to boost growth and curd formation

 

Courgette

  • Plant parsley near to repel insects and spinach to enrich the soil
  • Courgette is sensitive to frost.
  • Sow into hills, which warm and drain earlier in the season.
  • Harden off by cutting back on water and reduce temperature before transplanting.
  • Protect plants during cold nights with fleece
  • Apply a balanced fertiliser to promote stronger growth and fee vigorous plants with high potassium feed such as tomato feed.
  • Plant out in late May to avoid frost
  • Two weeks before planting outdoors, make planting pockets 90cm (3ft) apart for courgettes.
  • Do this by digging a hole about a spades depth and width and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Plant one plant in each planting pocket.
  • Courgettes are thirsty plants and when you water try not to get any on the leaves. Sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plant when planting.
  • Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.

 

Cucumber

  • Sow 2 to 3 radish seeds in with cucumber to repel cucumber beetle.
  • Support with a frame, tepee or trellis – 15cm (5.9in).
  • Train the main stem up a vertical wire ort cane and pinch out the growing point when it reaches the roof.
  • Pinch out the tips of the side shoots two leaves beyond a female flower (recognizable by tiny fruits behind the flower)
  • Pinch out the tips of flowerless side-shoots once they reach 60cm (2ft)
  • Easily injured in frost
  • Provide steady moisture
  • When the plant begins to blossom and set fruit use a balanced soluble fertilisers to keep the plant in production
  • Use black or brown plastic mulch – warm, moist soil is essential for top production, use a dark plastic mulch on the cucumber bed as it will speed up growth and increase yields by conserving soil moisture and maintaining a high soil temperature. The mulch will also keep weeds at bay.

 

French Beans

  • Need a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil.
  • After hardening off you can plant them outside at the end of May after risk of frost has past. Use fleece in May to keep warm.
  • Sow directly into the ground when soil temperature is warm enough
  • They don’t like frost or cold temperatures
  • Do not plant until danger of frost has passed and soil is warm.
  • Water plants when they begin to flower and again two weeks later – watering at other times is only needed during prolonged droughts.
  • A three year rotation helps to reduce some diseases
  • Can tolerate partial shade but will reduce yield.
  • Ensure you do not add to much nitrogen to soil as beans fix nitrogen into soil, they do not need extra.
  • If there is too much nitrogen the plant will produce a lot of leaves and little fruit.
  • When plants are flowering, water well during periods of dry weather. Placing a mulch of well-rotted manure or mushroom compost around the plants in July will help conserve moisture.

 

Leek

  • Start transplants about 8-10 weeks before last frost date
  • Leeks have shallow roots and need constant moisture and good weed control.
  • Leeks can be planted in heavy soil but improve the drainage by mixing in some horticulture sand.
  • This is a hungry crop – spread a general balanced fertiliser over the soil a week or so before sowing and rake in.
  • To increase the length of the white stem it can be balanced by gently drawing soil around the stem in stages but try not to let soil fall between the leaves.
  • Water during long, dry spells

 

Lettuce

  • Tolerant of a wide range of soils but prefers well-drained, cool, loose soil with plentiful moisture.
  • Sensitive to low pH, lime to at least 6.0
  • To get an early start prepare beds the previous winter by working in manure or compost and raking smooth to leave a fine seedbed.
  • Seeds need light to germinate, so do not plant to deep
  • Make succession planting every week or two. Grow several varieties with different maturity dates for continuous supply.
  • Lettuce has a shallow root system. Keep soil moist to keep plants growing continuously.
  • Mulch to contain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Moisture, stress and high temperatures can cause bolting.
  • Put plants where they will be partially shaded by taller nearby plants etc.
  • Thin seedlings as soon as the first true leaves appear and continue until plants are 30cm (12in) a part.
  • Water when soil is dry; best time to water is early morning

 

Peas

  • Install a trellis or support that is at least as tall as your variety is expected to grow.
  • Peas need an open sunny position with good drainage. Never sow in cold, wet soil and acid soils should be limed.
  • Water well when flowering begins and two weeks after.
  • Add mulch around the base of the plants to preserve the moisture of the soil.
  • After flowering, plants need sufficient water for the pods to swell properly. Check the soil moisture at the root level to find out if the plants are getting enough water.

 

Peppers

  • Plant with oregano as this will provide ground cover.
  • Water 4cm (1-2in) per week but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive.
  • Soil should be well drained but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • If necessary support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending.
  • Do not provide too much nitrogen or you will have lots of plant but little fruit.
  • Black plastic mulch will warm the soil and promote good growth.
  • Pepper plants like high humidity, which can be helped along by planting with some kind of dense leaf or ground cover like marjoram, basil and oregano.
  • Transplant when 2 true leaves have formed.
  • Pinch out the growing tips of chillies when they are about 20cm (8in) tall to encourage growth; sideshoots (the shoots forming between the main stem and leaves) can be further picked back if you want lots of smaller fruit.
  • Water regularly and feed with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruit has set.

 

Pumpkin

  • Pumpkins take up a lot of room, so it is better to plant outdoors where there is space
  • Pumpkins need a sunny position, moisture-retentive soil and shelter from cold wind.
  • Two weeks before planting or sowing seeds outdoors, make planting pockets 1.8m (6ft) apart.
  • Do this by making a hole about a spades depth and width. Backfill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil.
  • Pumpkins need plenty of water. Sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out as this will help ensure the water goes straight down to the roots and does not sit around the neck of the plant, which can cause rotting.
  • Feed every 10-14 days with high potash liquid fertiliser such as tomato feed once the first fruits start to swell.
  • The fruit of pumpkins should be supported off the soil on a piece of tile or glass
  • Floating row covers will protect from dipping temperatures. If night temperature falls below 18 C (65F) put row covers in place. Row covers will also protect from early pests.
  • When plants begin to flower, remover the row covers to allow for pollination by bees and insects
  • Water at the base of the plant to avoid diseases and keep foliage dry as wet foliage can transmit leaf and fruit disease. Avoid handling plants when they are wet.
  • Water seedlings well, the roots need regular moisture. If the plants look wilted they need water. If the soil is wet at 8cm (3in) down, watering is good.
  • Add plenty of aged compost or manure to the planting bed in advance of sowing.
  • Before planting place aged compost or manure at the bottom of each planting hole and throw in and inch or two of native soil. This will get the plants off to a strong start.
  • Add compost tea or manure tea at transplanting or two weeks after seedlings emerge. Feed again in 3 weeks or when the first flowers appear.
  • When the first fruits set water each plant with compost tea or with a shovel of compost.
  • If leaves are pale, give the plants some fish emulsion, but be careful not to give them to much nitrogen as this will increase leafy growth and cut fruit yield.
  • Cure pumpkins in a warm, ventilated room for 1 – 2 weeks before storing for winter.

 

Strawberry

  • Prefer acidic soil (5.8 to 6.2) but will grow outside this range
  • They like to be kept moist but not wet. Mulching will help to retain water as well as keep their roots cool.
  • Netting may be required to protect from birds
  • As fruits begin to develop, tuck straw or fibre mats underneath plants to keep fruit clean
  • Expect strawberry plants to crop successfully for four years before replacing them.
  • Runners look like little pieces of roots with very few leaves.
  • Water frequently whilst new plants are establishing and during dry periods.
  • Avoid wetting crowns and fruits as this can promote disease.
  • In early spring apply general fertiliser.
  • During the growing season give the plant a liquid potash feed such as tomato feed every 7 – 14 days
  • After cropping has finished, cur off old leaves from summer fruiting strawberries to allow new ones to develop.
  • Avoid areas prone to frost and soils that have previously grown potatoes, chrysanthemums, or tomatoes because they are all prone to the disease.
  • Avoid windy sites, which will prevent pollinating insects from reaching the flowers.

 

Sweet Corn

  • Beans and Peas will provide nitrogen to the soil
  • Wait until danger of frost has passed before planting out.
  • Use bio gradable pots to avoid disturbing the roots at transplanting time.
  • Protect emerging seedlings with fleece during cooler times.
  • To ensure the crop gets off to a flying start, spread some general fertiliser over the planting area and gently rake in to the surface. If you can try to do this 2 or 3 weeks before planting or sowing.
  • In dry conditions be sure to keep the corn well watered due to shallow roots. Water at a rate of 5 gallons per sq. yard.
  • Mulch helps reduce evaporation.
  • Grow sweetcorn in a sheltered, sunny position, protected from strong winds, on fertile soil.
  • Add up to 2 bucketful’s of organic matter, such as rotted manure and rake in 100g per sq. m (4oz per sq. yd.) of general-purpose fertiliser such as Growmore before planting.
  • Plants are less successful on dry or heavy soil.
  • As sweetcorn is wind pollinated, plants should be grown in blocks rather than rows 45cm (18in) a part.
  • Mulch with organic matter to conserve moisture and suppress weeds and mound soil over the roots, which appear at the base of the stems.
  • Stake plant individually if they are tall or the location is exposed.
  • Water well in dry weather when plants are flowering.
  • Tap the tops of the plants when the male flowers (tassels) open to help pollinate the female flowers down below.

 

Squashes

  • Two weeks before planting or sowing seeds outdoors, make planting pockets 90cm (3ft) apart from bush plants of summer squashes and 1.5m (5ft) for trailing plants of summer squashes.
  • Do this by making a hole about a spades depth, width and height and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Plant one plant on top of each planting pocket.
  • For indoor-raised seedlings, plant outside on top of a planting pocket in early June, hardening off before doing so.
  • Grow bags and containers can also be used to grow summer squashes of at least 45cm (18in) wide.
  • Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants, not over them, as they need plenty of water.
  • Sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out as this will help ensure the water goes straight down to the roots and does not sit around the neck of the plant, which can cause rotting.
  • Feed every 10-14 days with high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.
  • The fruit of pumpkins should be supported off the soil on a piece of tile or glass

 

Tomato

  • Trim only the non-fruiting bearing branches to maximize their growth
  • More sun equals more fruit. Choose your sunniest spot
  • Support with a frame, tepee or trellis as they can grow up to 1.8m (6ft) tall
  • Cordon tomatoes – Tie the main stem to a vertical bamboo cane or wind it around a well anchored but slack sturdy string.
  • When the flowers of the first truss are beginning to open, transfer to 23cm (9in) pots, growing bags or plant 45-60cm (18-24in) apart outside. Plants going outside should be hardened off first.
  • Remove the side-shoots regularly when they are about 2.5cm (1in) long.
  • When it has reached seven trusses indoors or four trusses outdoors, remove the growing point of the main stem at two leaves above the top truss.
  • Water regular to keep soil/compost evenly moist. Fluctuating moisture levels can split the fruit.
  • Feed every 10-14 days a well-balanced liquid fertiliser.