It’s easy to grow veg plants whatever the size of your plot, says our gardening expert Karen Murphy
The frost risk has passed now in most areas, so you can garden with a little more confidence that everything will sail through the summer. You need a bit of space to grow veg, particularly tender plants such as squash and sweetcorn, but they’re so worth it when you do give them a go. The taste is second to none – so much better than those wishy-washy, watery supermarket versions. Sweet little sweetcorn ‘Swift’ kernels and nutty ‘Crown Prince’ squash beat them all hands down.
There’s still time to sow seeds right now in pots of seed compost for planting out once they have their seed leaves. Plant in warmth and good sun, then water and feed well with tomato feed for good fruit growth.
There are ways and means to fit a few more big, gangly courgettes and sweetcorn into your plot – sweetcorn plants are wind-pollinated, so they’re best planted together in a circle or square anyway. You could easily fit three or four plants in a sunny spot. Plus, grow upwards instead of out with squash or courgettes. Courgette ‘Tromboncino’, for example, trained up a network of stakes, is an arresting sight. Let it trail, tie it in securely and let the fruit hang beautifully downwards. If you’ve very little room, simply plant squash plants on your compost heap and they’ll thrive!
For haste, your best bet is to invest in some ready-grown tender veg plants from garden centres, or from excellent websites such as www.vegetableplantsdirect.co.uk or www.rocketgardens.co.uk. That way they’re established and have been through all the hard graft before reaching you, so can get going quickly.
Go for delicates that will appreciate the warm June sunshine such as tomatoes, aubergines and peppers or, as it’s the year of the bean this year, some runner and French beans, too. These can all be planted straight into your beds or in pots in sun and shelter, being staked if necessary.
If you’re in a less mild area and don’t often get the warmth and sun you’d like, plant them in the greenhouse. The great thing about all these particular tender, easy-grow plants is that once planted, they’ll shoot up and away happily, and will be ready before you know it!
3 of the best... frothy filler plants
1 Ammi majus
Beautiful symmetrical umbels of lacy white flowers. A great cut flower.
2 Alchemilla mollis
A spreading, easy-grow perennial to use as border edging. Can tolerate drought.
3 Sanguisorba officinalis
Tall, thin stems with little oval blobs of ruby red blooms on top. Flowers until autumn.
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Karen writes for Garden News magazine which is packed full of tips, inspiration, plant and product news and great money-saving offers! On sale every Tuesday or subscribe and try your first 4 issues for just £1 – Call 080858 438884 and quote YFIG, or visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk/YFIG. T&Cs apply.