Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What vegetables to grow in the garden?

No matter how small or how big your plot it can be daunting to decide what you are going to grow.
Much depends on where you are situated on the globe, what hardiness growing zone you are situated in. This will help determine what plants are most likely to survive in your climate band. Our  garden is situated in hardiness zone 8 meaning that the lowest average temperature is - 7C. It does not mean that we can grow olives but it does mean that our soil may warm up quicker than in other places in the UK.

Having established which zone you live in a trip to the local garden centre and visiting local gardens will give you an indication of what you can grow in your climate.

My first list is made up of the vegetables that can be produced in our climate:
salad leaves
chard, spinach and broad beans
borlotti beans
globe artichoke
leeks, onions and garlic
butternut squash and pumpkins
french and runner beans
florence fennel
cabbages, broccoli, brussels sprouts

With heat the following could be grown :

tender herbs such as basil and chervil

Secondly, I have a list of foods that we eat regularly as well as vegetables that are produced by local farmers  such as asparagus, onions and potatoes. I will still grow a small amount of these such as small tasty carrots, salad potatoes, spring onions, but not vast quantities as I am limited on space. It is however important to include them in small measures for diversity and the nutrients they bring to the garden.

My vegetable plot is allocated to 4 categories :
50% are vegetables we eat daily and weekly ( i.e. salad leaves)
30% are vegetables that we eat 2 or 3 times per week ( i.e. potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, beans)
20% are vegetables that we eat every couple of weeks or are more specialised ( pumpkins, sweetcorn, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc)

The above gives an indication of what  we can grow, how much space in the garden will be allocated to that produce to avoid gluts of items we will not eat.

I like growing vegetables that are best eaten freshly picked from the garden and give my tastebuds an explosion such as tomatoes, salad leaves, herbs, sweetcorn and cucumbers that in general are quite tasteless in shops. 

( broadbean seedlings - January 2010)


Garden action provides a tool to set your town in the UK and it will then produce a vegetable gardening calendar for each month based on your area.

My interest lies in edible plants and Plants for a Future has an interesting selection of unusual plants that could be used in the garden.

What fruits to grow in the garden follows in a few days.

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