9th April 2020
“Use time at home to grow nutritious fruit, salads and vegetables for the family.”
Now most of us are spending more time at home there is a clear trend among gardeners to utilise this bonus by growing fresh fruit, vegetables and salad crops for the family table. Here at Forest we have seen a recent explosion in demand for our grow-your-own products. This includes timber raised beds, planters, garden accessories and our ever-popular Victorian Tall Wall and Walkaround Greenhouses.
It isn’t too late to plant seeds of tomato, summer and autumn cabbage and salad crops. Many vegetables such as kale, beetroot and carrots can be planted outside. A timber raised bed is perfect because it is a controlled environment and, if the weather forecast talks of frost, it can easily be protected with horticultural fleece – or even newspapers held down with stones!
If you don’t have a greenhouse, tomatoes, the cabbage plants and salad crops can be started from seed in a South or West facing window sill – but do keep the compost moist and if a cold night is forecast, don’t leave them on the sill behind a blind or curtains. Simply bring them into the warmth of the room for the night.
A delicious and simple to grow vegetable that can still be started off from seed is the runner bean. Pop single seeds into 3” pots of moist compost and keep them warm. Do not put them outside until the danger of all frost has passed. It will take about 10 to 14 days for the beans to come through and, again, keep them moist.
If you have a greenhouse and seeds have been sown and are germinating, remember to keep them moist and warm at night. At this time of year, it is best to water only first thing in the morning, before the sun really starts to warm up the greenhouse. Always leave a can of water inside, but out of direct sunlight, so that it reaches a temperature that won’t shock the seedlings.
Even on overcast days, a greenhouse will quickly warm up so leave windows and doors open – but remember to close them overnight. If a cold night is forecast, protect seedlings with horticultural fleece. It may seem an obvious point but make sure all seeds are correctly labelled and don’t get mixed up in the watering process. Watch out for slugs and snails inside the greenhouse.
And, if at harvest time, you have an excess of produce, why not reach out to see if local NHS workers would like it. They’ll go to a very worthy cause.