Whether it’s in the ground or in a raised garden bed, a vegetable garden needs good soil, water and care. Choose varieties that thrive in your zone, and look for ones bred to be container plants if you don’t have much space.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables can be one of the most rewarding gardening jobs – nurturing young seeds and plants and harvesting delicious crops as we move into late summer and autumn.
Gone are the days when vegetable gardening was all about having a huge garden and lots of room to grow masses of tasty food.
Now you can grow fruit and vegetables in hanging baskets, on the patio in planters, in special vegetable bags or put them in any part of the garden where you have enough room.
Some varieties will be easier to grow than others – just be patient, keep a check on your plants and enjoy the fruits of your labour as we move through the summer and into autumn.
Here’s my guide on the fruit and vegetables to be planting now and how to look after them.
Tomatoes are perfect for pots on the patio, in hanging baskets, in the greenhouse or in a raised bed.
If you’re growing tomatoes from plants, you’ll need plenty of decent compost, a sunny, sheltered spot and you will need to water regularly. Remember to pinch outside shoots and for taller plants, tie the plants to a cane with soft string or garden twine. When flowers appear, you can feed your plants with a liquid tomato food.
Give your tomatoes time to ripen naturally before you harvest them – they will taste amazing.
Chilli and Pepper plants
These easy to grow plants are perfect for novice gardeners. They can be grown indoors or out and you don’t need much space. They’re perfect for container gardening – ideal if you have a small balcony or patio.
Peppers and chillies just need well drained soil, plenty of sunlight and regular watering.
Great for adding a peppery twist to your salad, rocket is another low maintenance, easy to grow plant. All it needs is fertile soil and a sheltered spot and it should flourish. Remember to pick from your plant regularly and it will continue to grow and produce delicious leaves.
If a healthy salad is your thing during the summer, try growing cucumbers. Outdoor varieties are weather dependent but you should get a decent crop. Try planting in a pot, filled with good quality compost – normally one plant per pot is about right.
You can plant directly into the garden too – remember to prepare the soil beforehand by removing weeds and digging in well rotted compost or manure. It’s worth building a wigwam from garden cames to keep the plants upright. Cucumber plants need to be watered regularly with the fruit ripening from mid summer.
Lettuce is the perfect summer vegetable. They are relatively easy to grow from seed or you can buy young plants to sow directly in the garden. Choose a warm spot in the garden in full sunlight. Before you plant out, weed the patch and dig in lots of compost.
They don’t take up much space, so rather than uniform rows of lettuces, you can plant them wherever there’s a space. Lettuces also grow well in planters on the patio. Remember to water daily – especially if they’re in pots as these will dry out faster.