Grow your own

Sign up to weekly gardening videos at www.sarahraven.com for tips on how to grow your own veggies and herbs.

You may have a balcony, yard, terrace or garden – growing something is possible even on a windowsill. The joy of seeing something sprout and the satisfaction when you can eat your own produce, really is something special.

Below is a set of veg and herbs you can grow from seed, but you can also grow from produce you may already have in your home

For a quick and economical veg patch, there are many edible plants with a high cm square productivity — so you get the maximum crop out of the minimum garden bed or container space. Select mainly cut-and-come-again crops, things that you can sow and harvest within 4-6 weeks, and then go back to harvest again and again — and again.

NUMBER ONE: Salads

Quick crops such as mizuna, any of the mustards, and salad rocket, which can be added to the quick-growing, cut-and-come-again lettuces, such as ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, ‘Merveille de Quatre Saisons’, and the oak-leaf ‘Solix’ or ‘Green Salad Bowl’. American/Land Cress is super speedy too.

NUMBER TWO: Herbs – to give all your food a lift

Flat-leaved parsley, coriander, chives, and soon it will be time for basils as well (but don’t sow them until the middle of April).

NUMBER THREE: super-prolific Leafy greens

For a quick crop, go for spinach ‘Medania’ or ‘Toscane’. You’ll be picking from them in 4-5 weeks’ time.

Add Swiss Chard in there too, in any of its forms (the white or green-stemmed taste cleaner than the earthier ‘Rainbow’ or ‘Bright Lights’ chard.) These will give you more meals per square metre than any other plant you can grow and are super versatile, good raw in salad with the green taken off the stem — and fantastic cooked, in so many different ways.

And then to sow now, to pick (as a baby leaf) in 8-10 weeks’ time, go for super-healthy kales of any type.

NUMBER FOUR: Courgettes

Sow these on a windowsill now for planting out once the frosts are over in your area. As we all know, these are heavy croppers and the more you pick, the more they produce. I love ‘Romanesco’ which has a nutty flavour and texture.

NUMBER FIVE: Tomatoes

If you have a greenhouse or sheltered, sunny wall, add tomatoes such as ‘Sungold’ and the super-prolific ‘Stupicke Pole Rane’ to your must-sow list, with the cucumber ‘La Diva’ also good for growing inside or out.

NUMBER SIX: Beans and peas

Any of the peas are good and quick, and you probably want to go for a heavy cropper such as ‘Alderman’, plus of course Runner Beans are super prolific for sowing now, for cropping in the summer.

For right now, sow any of the broad beans straight outside.

NUMBER SEVEN:

And if you can, get hold of a two or three-year-old crown of rhubarb. If you pull, rather than cut the stems, they’ll go on producing long and hard and are jam-packed with Vitamin C.”

For more helpful advice and to sign up to our weekly gardening videos please go to www.sarahraven.com

Monique Chambers
Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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