Plot To Plate - Sowing and Harvesting Calendar | Living North

Plot To Plate - Sowing and Harvesting Calendar

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Plot To Plate - Sowing and Harvesting
If you’re thinking about growing your own vegetables this new year, make our guide your first port of call

With most of the action taking place in the garden in spring, winter is the time to get ahead with planning and preparations. Whether you’re a beginner or a green-fingered fiend, there’s lots to look forward to in the year ahead – put in the effort now, and we assure you, spring will be a much more pleasant gardening experience.

Where do I start?

If you’re short of space….
Remember, it’s okay to start small – you don’t need to start off growing every single vegetable you and your family eat. Begin by choosing a herb you’ll be able to incorporate in your everyday cooking. You’ll need very little equipment to start your kitchen garden pots. A fork and trowel are essential and a dibber for planting seeds can be particularly helpful. A watering can might make the perfect addition to your kitchen garden but a measuring jug would work just as well. Get some general-purpose compost from your local garden centre and pick your pots. Plant five or six seeds of your chosen herb and place them in a reliably sunny spot on a windowsill. Make sure you create plenty of drainage holes in the base of your pot, before adding around one inch of dampened potting mix – this way you won’t be introducing any disease to the seeds, and they’ll have sufficient drainage. Water the seedlings whenever the soil feels dry but don’t drown them – herbs don’t like wet soil. Voila, fresh herbs for your home-cooked food, grown by you.

If you’re serious…
Start planning your vegetable patch from scratch. You’ll need a sunny, but slightly sheltered spot – avoid overhanging trees, buildings and sheds – but as well as sun, your vegetables (particularly tomatoes and cucumbers), will need shelter from the wind. Consider putting up fencing panels or even planting a hedge. When it comes to clearing the ground pre-planting, you’ll need to clear the soil of any weeds as well as grass, then carefully dig it over to remove any of the roots too, then it’s good to sow. Go for raised beds if you’re a beginner – they will help to make your garden more manageable. Or, consider putting your name down for a slot at a local allotment – it will give you plenty of space for your vegetable garden. For an easy, but effective, kick-start into things, buy onions as sets to plant yourself, or simply plant some potatoes – it really is that simple. 

What are the benefits?

For your health…
There are few more balancing and rewarding ways to spend an hour or two a week than growing even a few of your own vegetables. Studies have shown that regular gardening can improve both physical and mental health. It can lead to faster recovery from surgery, improve chronic pain and help people cope with challenging treatments like cancer therapy. Gardening has also been found to lead to a long-term reduction in episodes of stress and depression, reducing reliance on medication for those with mental health problems. The benefits of gardening in an allotment also include the social interaction it affords, which can reduce loneliness too.

For the flavour…
Many people find that homegrown produce tastes so much better than shop-bought. When you consider that a lettuce, taking 11 weeks to grow commercially, will be sprayed 11 times, it’s easy to see why you might prefer to grow your own, which is likely to be sprayed only once. 

The Vegetable Sowing & Harvesting Calendar

What to plant and when to plant it

Runner Beans
Sow Outside: May, June & July
Harvest: July, August, September & October

Sprouts
Sow Outside: May & June
Harvest: February

Carrots
Sow Outside: March, April, May, June & July
Harvest: June, July, August, September, October & November

Leeks
Sow Outside: March & April
Harvest: September, October, November, December & February

Parsnips
Sow Outside: March & April
Harvest: October, November, December & February

Peas
Sow Outside: April, May, June & July
Harvest: June, July, August, September & October

Potatoes
Sow Outside: March & April
Harvest: June, July, August & September

Tomato
Sow Inside: April & May
Move Outside: May & June
Harvest: August & September

Published in: March 2020

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