GARDENING- What to grow and when


To the inexperienced layman (or indeed woman), it seems like something of a mystery. How do people know exactly what seeds to plant in their vegetable garden, and, more specifically, when?

Forget black magic and seances, though. And, whilst this is a very exact science (to within a few weeks or couple of months), it isn’t like one of those mechanical problems with your car- where the experts see you coming a mile off and make everything sound much more complicated than it is, when in actual fact it would have probably been feasible to sort the issue yourself. In fact, it’s really rather simple, and the information is readily available from a variety of sources.

But who has time to go looking? If you answered ‘not me’, then this article is definitely for you. Here’s a list of some popular vegetables us Britons are lucky enough to be able to cultivate in the back garden, and when’s best to start the sowing process.


How good are homegrown potatoes? We say very, very good indeed. In February or March get some potato bags and part-fill them with compost. As green shoots begin to appear cover those with more compost. Repeat until the end of the season (10-20 weeks later), as the foliage starts to turn yellow and die back. Now empty the bag and get ready to find your own homegrown potatoes, ready for dinner.


A mainstay of the dining table, whether that’s as part of Tuesday’s quick tea or Sunday’s extended roast. Peas enjoy cooler climates, and should be sown between March and June, with picking season extending from June to August. They will need some support for the stems of the pods- sticks of wood held together with netting will do. Oh, and did we mention that the more you pick these sweet greens the more they grow? Perfect.

Onions and garlic

Plant your onion bulbs and garlic cloves on well-drained soil in either spring or autumn. Then do nothing, until the foliage dies back and turns yellow- which should be late summer. Then hey presto, you have a new crop ready to be harvested. Dry out in the sun for a little while before putting them in storage. Easy as the pie you’re about to use them in.


Checking the soil is moist, sow beetroot seeds directly into the ground from March to July. It’s a good idea to separate each seedling by about 5CM as they grow to allow enough space for them to flourish. Then, between May and September- depending on how long ago it was they were planted- you should see a crop materialise, which is ready to be picked.

Image credit: (C) Isabel Eyre

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