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Courgettes, cucumbers, peppers, chilli peppers, peas, beans or radishes all grow easily in containers. The lazy gardener can use slow-release fertilizers like Osmocote although this is not organic. The Care Of Roses Without Toxic Chemicals Jun 18, 16 01:33 PMCare Of Roses is possible without harming yourself or the world around you! Growing Roses In Containers - Rose Bush Care For Beautiful Summer Flowers Jun 11, 16 01:31 PMGrowing Roses In Containers adds great summer color to your patio. Each plant may have a slightly different requirement when it comes to their pot size and soil type. Larger plants: Anything larger will require at minimum a five gallon pot, which will provide growing room for the roots.
When you begin comparing the lights that are available you need to take to factors into consideration: the color of the light and the intensity of the light. For fluorescent and LED lights you should keep the light about four inches from the top of the plant. Standard shop lights (T-12): The are the least expensive option, available in cool and warm white options and perfect for starting seeds, leafy veggies, herbs and plants up to 12 inches tall.
High Output (HO) T-5: These are twice as strong as the T-12 and are many different lengths and configurations. So whatever methods you choose to follow in this article be sure to realise the benefits of growing your own vegetables at home without any chemicals or other additives and what it can do for your health and well-being.
Fast vegetable crops are good to grow because they provide some food on the table in the shortest period of time.
If you have a limited season (colder climate zones), then you can help maximize your garden’s output by growing fast-growing vegetables. Note: Days to harvest are from seed, and will vary depending on your variety and conditions.
We had some broccoli last year (probably hybrids) that produced all summer through a drought without being watered. There is an heirloom broccoli that grows just as you describe, I grow it every year and save the seeds for the next year.
I also grow Swiss Chard, as it can be planted much earlier than other greens here, and it is a plant that will produce for 2 years before it goes to seed. You can also plant about 50 carrot plants and 50 radishes together in a one foot square container! We plant almost everything on the list except Rhubarb, cantaloupes, watermelon, cauliflower, soy beans and pole beans.
Right now we have 85 tomato plants, a row of snap beans and a row of butter beans, a row of potatoes and a row of garlic. For the past few months I’ve been tutoring in the community School of Food garden in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. Apart from the usual vegetables grown in Irish gardens such as potatoes, cabbage and runner beans, thanks to Fitzgerald Nurseries, we’ve also been able to grow a wonderful variety of unusual vegetables at the School. Pat started the Andean vegetables off as seedlings at the nursery and brought a few in for the course participants to transplant into larger containers, or plant straight into the soil in the School garden. Popcorn Fiesta is available from various seed suppliers and can be sown from March to April in modules. To harvest, once the fruit has developed inside enough that it’s bursting through it’s papery lantern, remove it from the plant, take off the husk and wash in warm water to remove the coating that’s waxy and bitter. You’ll find lots of recipes using Tomatillos online but replacing them for tomatoes in a salsa is probably one of the easiest. Another member of the Solanaceae family so related to both the tomatillos and tomatoes, Cape Gooseberries are native to Brazil but long ago adapted to the Andean heights and now grow wild up to 10,000 feet.
Cape Gooseberries can be grown just like tomatoes, preferably on a propagator from seed from February to April, potted on to larger pots as they develop, before planting outside when all chances of frost have passed.
Cape Gooseberries need consistent watering if they’re to set a good crop of fruit so once again, the irrigation in the School garden polytunnel has been a real bonus. We will know the Cape Gooseberries are ready as they will fall to the ground, though may not all do so at once as they’ll mature at different stages. Oca are being increasingly grown by gardeners in the UK and Ireland as the flavour of the tubers resemble potatoes, though sweeter, but they don’t carry the blight risk we’re plagued with here. Oca tubers can be purchased in some garden centres or online during mid Spring and planted individually into pots of multipurpose compost. Oca tubers don’t begin to develop until after the Autumn equinox and will continue to grow even when temperatures have plummeted, but it’s a good idea to cover their foliage with fleece to prevent the soil freezing and you being unable to dig them out.
For more information on harvesting Oca, Anni’s Perennial Veggies blog carries an interesting post on her experiences with this unusual vegetable.
Another tasty Andean vegetable that’s grown for it’s tubers, Yacon (also known as ground apple or pear of the earth) are a sweet vegetable, rich in indigestible sugars, just like Jerusalem artichokes, but without the calories of biscuits and cake! Just like Oca, Yacon is another perennial vegetable and very easy to grow, though does have a long growing season with again, tubers being formed in the autumn months. When you lift your Yacon plants to harvest the tubers, cut the stems back to about 10cm long and store the crowns covered in damp compost in a cool frost-free place where they won’t dry out.
In early spring plant the crowns into large pots and wait for shoots to start growing from each small tuber.
As the frosts come along, we can expect the Yacon foliage to wither and that’s the time to harvest the tubers.
Yacon can be eaten straight away but will become sweeter if they get the chance to get some sun before they’re stored away in a cool shed.
We have other Andean vegetables growing in the School garden but number 6 of this list of 6 unusual vegetables, is the superfood Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) which is in the same botanical family as sugar beet. Quinoa seed can be sown directly into the soil where it’s to grow from mid-April but to get a head start, seeds can be sown in small pots and planted outside at the end of May.
You’ll know your Quinoa is ready to harvest in the Autumn when the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off, just leaving the grain clusters. If you’re planning to use the leaves before they yellow, steam them for a few minutes just like spinach. To prepare the Quinoa grain, simply rub the dried seed heads gently between your hands over some paper and add to a bowl.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If you want to find more about how we came to live in Ireland and what we do, take a look in the About page or Contact me about how I can help you grow your own food. As a complete novice I got a good idea of what I need to do to start gardening – the pro’s & cons!!
Gosh it’s so difficult to write a testimonial for someone as passionate about helping people as Dee. I would have no hesitation in recommending Dee having known and worked alongside her on a project and seen her creativity, flair, high level of motivation and engaging personality in action.
Dee Sewell is doing amazing work at supporting and promoting positive, sustainable action at community level. There is nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own vegetables, but first things first, you will need to understand that planning a vegetable garden can be just as important as the planting the seeds and vegetables themselves. Printed plans and articles in books are usually shown as rectangles or squares when it comes to planning  a vegetable garden, but this is mainly for convenience of putting them down on paper. The further that the vegetable garden plot can be sited away from the house or overhanging trees the better.
Permanent crops such as asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish should be located at one side of the garden so that they will not interfere with the regular digging, planting or cultivation of other vegetables. With vegetable garden planting, it is good also to remember that every foot of height gives lateral wind protection of 8 feet. This creates a sloping side so that the broad leaves of the beans will  carry the wind upwards and over the top, thus improving the windbreak.
It has been customary and even traditional to sow seeds of beetroot, carrots, spring onions and similar crops in single drills but I personally prefer to make wide drills. In addition to trebling the crop from virtually the same area of ground, they provide one another with mutual protection.
Over the years, various attempts have been made to popularise pelletted vegetables seeds for growing your own vegetables.
On the whole the British gardener has not taken kindly to pelletted seeds, mainly because of an apparent reduction in germination. Making a wide drill This can be easily done by putting down a line and taking out a shallow scraping or, with a shovelling motion, take the top inch of soil and put this to one side of the drill. Whether V-shaped drills are taken out with a special tool, a piece of stick or a corner of the hoe, they are invariably made too deep and, unless the operator is very skilled, irregular in depth.
In the days before the importation of vegetables and fruit by air all the year round and the introduction of the freezer, professional gardeners were expected to maintain a supply of fruit and vegetables throughout the year from their employer’s garden. When growing vegetables very often it is a case of feast or famine but these surpluses and poor crops can be evened out by the use of a freezer. To avoid a glut, or if the summer holiday coincides with the maturing of the most desirable crops such as peas or beans, due regard must be given to sowing or planting times.
This brings us to the question of varieties of vegetables designated as early, second-early or mid-season and late. In the milder parts of the country, vegetables such as spring greens, lettuces and broad beans can be sown in October along with the overwintering hardy crops such as spinach, sea kale, beet and lamb’s lettuce.
Intercropping vegetables means slotting in early-maturing crops between those which take longer. Discover this exciting world of growing your own vegetables, and you’ll have an abundance of amazing vegetables all year round. The tomato is probably the heaviest yielding crop per yard of ground that we have in this country, beating even crops like potatoes and onions. This means that they must be raised early in the season and planted out as reasonably well-established plants, but not before the soil warms up, which will probably be early June in most places. With regard to varieties, practically all those which will grow under glass will grow outdoors.



Some of the bushy varieties lend themselves very well to cloche culture and require no staking. The most important thing for growing tomatoes outside, is that they should have been prepared for it by hardening off. If you buy your plants in pots all well and good, but if dug up from a seed box then it is worthwhile potting them up so that they can be kept mobile.
The soil at the base of a wall or fence, not a living hedge, should be prepared and soaked well in advance (I do not advise planting at the base of a hedge because of root competition and drought). One of the usual complaints about growing outdoor tomatoes is that they are ugly and gross in size and are of more use for cooking than for the table.
The plants should be ‘stopped’ at four trusses with one or two leaves beyond the final truss left so that they can send back food.
The most important point to remember when growing from seed, however the seedlings are to be raised, is to buy varieties suitable for outdoor growing. A day or two before planting, level the ground and rake in a fish manure with a 10 per cent potash content or a complete fertilizer at the rate of 4 or 5 oz. Watch out for potato blight disease, which usually occurs in late July in the south and about the second week of August in the north. Alternatively, if ganwicks or cloches are available, put down a layer of straw or sedge peat on the strips where the plants are growing and, having taken away the bamboos, lay the plants down as they are on the straw or peat and put the cloches or ganwicks over the top.
No matter your motivation, you should ensure you select the proper plants and have the proper tools and skills to create a successful, and healthy, garden indoors before you set out on how to actually grow your garden. For example, leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce are perfect for an indoor environment. Some examples include Fertilome or Espoma, which provides the necessary drainage and aeration for indoor vegetables. The one typical exception is herbs, as these can be bought as “starter plants” at most home stores. While some vegetables will flourish in a sunny window, others need the “big guns” to grow successfully.
First of all, they are inexpensive and use less energy than the incandescent and other lighting options. You can grow peppers and tomatoes to the proper size to produce flowers however they may not produce much fruit. They use less energy, last longer and provide the light necessary for all types of plant growth. Whilst eating green her whole life she practices yoga, meditation and healthy living every day to help awaken her consciousness. Those close to the surface will germinate more quickly, extending the harvest by a few days.
Kale grows well in nearly any kind of soil, has few problems associated with it and will give you a quick tasty harvest. With funding from Kilkenny’s Education Training Board (ETB we began with a Fetac 3 Outdoor Vegetable Crop Production course, which has since been followed by a Planting and Potting Indoors module. If you read on you’ll find six of many unusual vegetable varieties currently growing in the School of Food garden. Although corn can be grown outdoors, the seedlings were ready before the outside beds so because corn doesn’t like being transplanted, we planted them directly into the polytunnel soil. Fibre pots or empty toilet roll holders are great for corn as they can be planted directly into the soil and will cause less root disturbance. Place the cob in a paper bag, tie it closed with string and microwave it for two to three minutes or until the popping slows down to every couple of seconds. They’re very popular in Mexican dishes with a flavour that’s been described as a cross between a lime and a beefsteak tomato. We planted the seedlings into well-drained soil and have done nothing other than water and weed around them, though a high potash feed could be given to them if necessary. They can be transferred to their final growing positions (in a polytunnel or outdoors) once all danger of frost has past, planting them around 1m apart. They too carry cute little lanterns but these contain little orange berries that we’re more familiar with when they garnish our desserts.
The plants are pretty easy to grow as they don’t need feeding or pruning but they aren’t tolerant of frost so keep an eye out and have some horticultural fleece ready as the seasons get cooler. Once fully mature the berries will stay fresh in the fridge for several months and out of their little Chinese lanterns, the fruit can be eaten raw, as a garnish, added to smoothies and salsa and as they have a high pectin content, made into great jams.
We’re growing them in high raised beds at the School and looking forward to harvesting the knobbly tubers during the winter, but we’ll have to keep ahead of the game as they don’t like frost.
Once the chances of frost have passed, the developing tubers can be planted outside in beds that have been previously prepared with well-rotted organic matter. During December or January try lifting the tubers and take a peek, they should be ready to harvest.
Yacon can only be grown from tubers or divided plants, and hopefully they’ll become more readily available here in Ireland as Fitzgerald Nurseries continue their trials, particularly as Yacon grow well both inside and out in an Irish garden. Unlike potatoes, the tubers can be eaten raw in salads but if you find yourself with some, take a look at  Pinterest where you’ll find everything from buns to ice cream and syrup to sorbet.
Popular with vegetarians, vegans or anyone who doesn’t mind straying away from the usual meat and two veg, Quinoa grain tastes a little like couscous, and can be cooked similarly too. Quinoa seedlings should be planted around 30cm apart, watered and left to grow, which they’ll happily do without any fuss from us! These ‘ears’ can be snipped off with secateurs and popped into brown paper bags to dry in a cool shed. To separate the grain from the chaff, take your bowl outside on a breezy day and pour grain from one bowl to another, allowing the wind to catch it and blow the chaff away, leaving the grain in the bowl. Add the grain to the blender, fill with water, leave for five minutes and whizz for a couple.
We’re growing sweet potatoes too in containers – thy may take another blog post all on their own! Another way to eat corn that I learned this summer: BBQ the ears of corn, rub with fresh lime, then mayonnaise, and sprinkle with smoked paprika.
Encouraging and teaching people and communities how to be self-reliant and showing them how to grow their own foods is what Dee Sewell from Greenside Up is all about. Her commitment, enthusiasm and efforts in doing so so should be recognised and supported as much as possible. Dee has an in-depth knowledge of all things gardening and is a tremendous asset to any gardening group.  Without Dee’s support we would be unable to keep this community garden going’. She shares her knowledge with many and has a very loyal following for her community garden work, training workshops and social media postings .
The shade caused by a building is preferable to that cast by trees because not only is there an overhead canopy with trees but also searching roots. In a situation where there is a prevailing wind or, worse still, draught, an artificial windbreak such as that provided by plastic mesh should be provided in preference to using fruit bushes.
It is essential to secure the beans by putting a string on each side and to take two more diagonally through the rows. Using beetroot as an example; single plants in a thinned-out row have no protection and if they are spaced as recommended at up to a foot apart a great deal of the land is wasted.
If onion seed is sown thinly over the broad drill spring onions can be pulled from the narrow bed for as long as they remain suitable for salads or even for flavouring and then the remainder allowed to develop.
This means you can have round, intermediate and long beet in one row which may be selectively thinned without waste as the thinnings can be used. If a row 30 feet long provides too many vegetables to be conveniently used, then half the row may be sown in mid-April, for example, and the other half in early May. These seeds are smaller seeds that have been coated to make them bigger and more easy to handle. This may be due in some degree to the pellet formulation but certainly in all cases which I have investigated, it has been found that dryness of the soil has been the cause.
To make the best use of the freezer, varieties most suitable for freezing should be carefully selected from a catalogue. For example, starting at one end of the plot with the hardiest crop of broad beans the next sowing would be of early round-seeded peas leaving a 3 foot space which, later on, when the soil has warmed up, could accommodate two rows of beetroot or carrots. Tomatoes grow easily and well, require the minimum of attention and are sufficiently hardy to withstand the rigours of an average English summer, as anyone who has seen masses of seedlings growing on sewage waste tips will know. However, there are certain varieties which have been specially bred for outdoor growing which do not do at all well in greenhouses. Taking plants straight out of the greenhouse, even if unheated, and planting them directly outdoors is a sure way of delaying growth.
In the early part of the year in many areas, days can be warm but nights extremely cold, so it pays for the first few days at least to stand them out in pots in a sheltered place in the sun and then at night put them under cover, even if it means taking them indoors. Never leave a truss stuck out on its own either under glass or outdoors as manufactured food travels down a plant not up it. If, at the end of the season, there are trusses of green tomatoes on the plants, cut them off to ripen on a windowsill, or wrap the individual fruits in newspaper to ripen off in a drawer.
Each section will outline must know considerations for anyone interested in growing vegetables indoors. For example, leafy vegetables and your herbs will require a lower amount of light, while flowering fruits and vegetables need high amounts of light to flower.
Additionally they burn a lot cooler, which does not require the need for any venting, as other light choices do.
It is important to ensure the soil is not allowed to dry out as this can cause blossom end rot. You can pollinate with a cotton swab or paint brush and take pollen from one flower to another all over the plant. Plant in the spring and start harvesting the leaves in four to six weeks, beginning with the older, larger ones. In about six weeks after planting, you can start harvesting thin, tender bush beans from your garden.


Once the main head has been harvested, the broccoli plants will still produce smaller heads from side shoots throughout the season. It’s so extremely prolific that 6 plants will provide way more than enough for 2 people all year. Corn is wind-pollinated so in its absence inside we had to help it’s pollination by shaking the male antennae on top of the plant, encouraging it’s pollen to fall directly onto the female tassels parts growing in the middle (see here for an older post with photos). Once germinated (around May to June), the seedlings can be planted directly outside or undercover in a polytunnel, (though be warned, they will get tall). Once off, peel back the husks to reveal the wonderful cobs growing inside and leave them to dry for a few weeks, somewhere with good ventilation which will cut their water content.
Alternatively, remove the dried kernels from the cob and place them in a saucepan with a small amount of oil.
However, just like their relatives the tomatoes and potatoes, they are members of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae) and have their poisonous parts.
Apart from looking pretty, Tomatillos are extremely productive, producing lots of lanterns (potentially up to 10 kg per plant) before the frosts arrive. The best thing about Quinoa however, is that both the leaves and the grain can be eaten and it’s very high yielding, meaning you don’t need a lot of space to produce a good harvest. It is usually recommended that broad beans be planted in a double row with the beans spaced 6 in apart. This protection will make a significant difference to the earliness of the crops grown in its shelter.
This produces bulbs ranging from little pickling onions to bulbs the size of an old-fashioned pocket watch on the outside of the broad drill.
In the case of beetroot, pelletted seeds mean that the shiny black seeds have been extracted from their capsule and there will be only one seed in the pellet instead of the two or more found in the corky capsule.
It must be remembered that the pellet must absorb moisture before this can be transmitted to the seed and unless the soil is very damp, germination may be retarded or will not take place. I have always been impressed with the results that blind gardeners obtain and have come to the conclusion that much of this is due to their meticulous precision in measuring not only depth, but spacing.
The latter being a cave dug into a hillside or a specially constructed building in the woods which was filled with ice laboriously cut by handsaw – from the lake and stacked in the ice house in winter. Therefore, calculation of sowing times should be made backwards from the time that you need the crop. For example, an early variety of pea may take 90 days to come to maturity whilst a late variety may take 100 to 110 days. Then comes another sowing of beans or peas with a space between for lettuces and any other dwarf crop. There is one trouble with these summer hardy plants and that is that the season isn’t long enough for them to develop fruits unless they start their life indoors. This can be extended by planting tomatoes plants close to a sunny wall which holds and reflects its heat during the night or by arranging some form of glass or plastic covering in the early stages to protect them from cold winds. I appreciate it is not much use mentioning the varieties to start from seed unless there is some form of artificial heat available for this but plants can be bought. Standing them outdoors even in hot sun will cause the leaves to harden so that they do not get a check.
This can easily be achieved by using two layers of bricks, a wooden edge or any other device to help contain the raised soil. I find it best to put in one or two strong posts so that about 3 feet is left out of the ground and stretch a wire across the top. On ordinary garden soil which has carried a reasonable crop the previous year, little or no extra feeding is necessary; applying all sorts of fertiliser only makes for big fruit which is difficult to ripen. Most seeds can be started in anything, including egg cartons, paper cups or nursery starter trays.
These gardens are becoming increasingly popular and can provide fresh, home-grown fruits and vegetables, year round for you and your family. They’re one of just a few vegetables that you can plant from seed at the beginning of a month and enjoy a harvest by the end of the month. Mulch heavily and water at a rate of 1 inch per week to prevent the roots from becoming tough and bitter.
It’s recommended to mulch and water Popcorn Fiesta in dry weather, but we’ve been saved this job thanks to an excellent irrigation system that’s been installed in the polytunnel. As they grow you’ll notice that they begin to flop to the side,  a natural development as they’ll begin to send out lots of lateral roots as they find new soil, allowing them to produce even more fruit. Oca spacing and care is like potatoes, but plant them up to 36cm apart if you want a heavy crop of tubers and to allow them to spread out and grow. Fortunately, the vegetable crop which lends itself for use as a windbreak, the broad bean, is the earliest crop sown and the toughest. My plan for many years has been to plant a bed of broad beans, four plants wide, thus making a double row barrier. On calculation this method produces roughly three and a half times more in terms of yield than from a single row.
In the case of beetroot one wide row will produce young beets which can be pulled when about the size of golf balls on a regular basis. The same technique can be used for sowing a part or even a third of a row of lettuce seeds to provide a succession. Such calculations, however, cannot be precise because of variable weather conditions and it is advisable to make three sowings at ten-day intervals.
This means that you can sow an early variety late because it will mature more quickly than a late variety. This enables more of the ground to be covered by foliage so there is less moisture lost from the soil and the watering can be left to nature. If you check the growth of a tomato plant it can put it back 10 days or a fortnight and time is precious. The existing soil should be thoroughly forked up and any rotted manure or compost available should be incorporated. The tomato plants are planted about 18 inches away from the centre line and  trained up canes or strings inclined to the single wire.
The main planting is done late in May in the south and early in June in the north, when all fear of frosts has passed. However, any plant that requires flowering, such as peppers and tomatoes, needs more light and heat in order to grow.
Simply fill the container of choice with your soil-less mix and plant in the recommended depth. The yellow version replicate the “fall and summer” lighting spectrum and will help your flowering plants produce an abundance of fruit. When the plants come to the flowering stage you need to find a formula with less nitrogen and a higher concentration of potassium.
Fully mature turnip roots are generally ready after 60 days, when they measure up to 3 inches in diameter – although can be harvested smaller.
Plant them into block-like grids at least three plants deep leaving 45 cm between each plant.
Again, once the corn stops popping, remove the lid and you’ll find that your Fiesta corn has transformed into tasty popcorn! Like courgettes, two Tomatillo plants should be enough for one family but don’t plant less as they need another plant nearby for pollination. In an extremely windy area it is a good idea to stop the growth of the beans on the outer row by pinching out their tops when they are about a foot high.
This gradually thins out the roots to about 4 or 5 in apart allowing sufficient room to grow on to maturity for storing.
By the way, the so-called beetroot seeds are, in effect, corky capsules which contain at least two shiny black seeds.
Hot beds which were fermenting heaps of manure and leaves covered with frames were used to accelerate growth.
So in the case of peas it is possible to use one early variety sown at 12- to 14-day intervals to provide cropping right through to October. The top of the box-like containment area should then be filled with soil of the quality of John Innes No.
The advantage of this is that the leaves grow outward to the light but the fruits, by virtue of their own weight, will hang in the centre and are thereby protected by the foliage. This will require an investment to ensure you have the proper equipment to help them grow successfully. You calculate back 14 weeks which brings you to mid-May so that your sowings will be the first week in May, mid-May and then another 8 to 10 days later. By using some form of protection  such as cloches at each end of the growing season, another fortnight can be gained. The seeds do not require light to germinate so you can place them in a warm window or top of your refrigerator.
There will be less attraction for blackbirds and thrushes and the protected fruit will have skins almost comparable to those grown under glass. Once germination has begun you should remove the plastic and place the seeds in a sunny area or beneath heat lights.
Tomato fruits grown either in the green- house or outdoors will ripen quite happily without benefit of direct sunshine.
To disturb the roots as little as possible when planting, make a good hole with a trowel and plant the ball of soil containing the roots complete.



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