Here are some helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home.

basket of colourful veggies grow your own vegetables in your garden
farmer planting seeds helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Avoid growing plants of the same family in the same soil each year. By using crop rotation, not only will you be maintaining soil structure and nutrient levels by using crop rotation but you can also prevent diseases and pests from becoming established in the soil.

Plant Roots helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Think about the roots of your plants. It’s a good tip to grow plants with shallow roots with those that have longer roots such as lettuce and tomatoes. Growing plants with different root lengths allows the nutrients of the soil to be used at all depth levels.

working in the garden shovel dirt helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Cultivate your fast and slow growing plants together in the same space. This will allow both species to fully develop and be harvested at different times, causing less damage to each other. Also, harvesting the full grown plants will make the space needed for the less developed plants to grow to maturity.

bags of seeds and nuts helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Fix low nitrates in your garden with legumes. Did you know that growing alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, carob, soybeans, peanuts and other legumes can replenish the nitrogen in your soil? Legumes have nodules on their roots that contain bacteria which converts atmospheric nitrogen into the nitrates needed by plants. Be aware that some vegetables and plants may not do well growing near them, so it’s advisable to use crop rotation when growing legumes.

Get rid of pests helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Having a problem with plant pests? Try growing natural pest controlling companion plants mixed in with your fruit and vegetables. Pest repellent plants such as; garlic, leek, onions, lemon balm, lavender, marigold, nasturtiums and oregano to name just a few, are a great natural way to reduce these damaging pests. As an example, Marigolds have thiophenes that repels nematodes. These roundworms are parasites that commonly attack your potatoes and tomatoes, so grow some beautiful marigold flowers in and around your tomatoes to reduce pests and have a more bountiful harvest.

farmer working in soil helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Try to avoid growing plants that consume large amounts of soil nutrition, especially nitrates. If you must grow these “nutritional vampires”; mix them with plants that are less demanding of the soil. Keep in mind that these plants should all have the same water needs. Also make sure to rotate where you grow these plants each year.

Old age pensioner working in the garden helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Don’t let your large plants cast shadows over the smaller ones. When planning your garden, keep the height and size of each fruit or vegetable in mind. By maintaining a size balance, you can control the amount of shadow your taller and leafier plants cast over your shorter ones. Alternately, you can use these larger plants to your advantage by growing arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, mustard, parsnips, peas, potatoes and others that grow well in shade.

Grow your own peanuts! helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Grow your own peanuts! England is great for growing peanuts. They are self-pollinating and not very difficult to grow. After about 120 days of growing and 3 or 4 days of drying, you will have a fresh supply of tasty and nutritious peanuts. Peanuts are actually in the bean family. If you do plan on growing your own peanuts; make sure you have 4 to 5 months of warm weather, unless you plan on growing them indoors. Also, peanuts require regular watering in multi-purpose compost or soil that is well-drained. Raw peanuts are a nutrient-rich, low carbohydrate, fibre filled food. They are also a great source of healthy fats, protein, and full of fiber. Peanuts also contain plenty of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and B vitamins. Due to peanut allergies, it is important to alert anyone who may be working in or around your garden.

helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Easy and delicious fruits to grow, even in limited space. Figs, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, honeyberries, goji berries, currants, strawberries and rhubarb are just a few fruits that flourish in England, and you don’t need to have an orchard. If you do not have space for a garden, you can grow many of these in containers or even hanging baskets. Many people are unaware that you can easily grow grapes in your own home! Make sure your pot is placed at the window that gets the most sun. Grapevines will grow quickly and the tendrils will grab everything they can as they spread out. If you don’t want them taking over your book shelf and picture frames, you may want to build a tall frame around your large, deep pot. Bamboo is a natural and pleasant looking material to use. The best grape varieties for indoor growing are the ones that produce fruit close to the trunk. “Muscat of Alexandria”, “Black Hamburgh”, “Early Muscat,” “Seyval,” “Canadice,” “Interlaken” and “Swenson Red” are just some of the varieties that do well in pots. The warmth of being indoors will help them ripen and become sweet.

From Planting to Plate: helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

From planting to plate. Quick growing healthy UK vegetables.

  • From planting to plate, radishes only take about 25 days and are not only easy to grow but packed with vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K. They are also high in antioxidants and rich with fibre, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and manganese.
  • Salad leaves are another quick growing vegetable which can be on your plate or in your sandwich in as little as 20 days. They not only grow fast and taste delicious, but the crunchy leaves are nutrient rich and chock full of vitamin A and vitamin C. They are a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fiber, and phytonutrients.
  • Baby carrots are a crunchy delight and take only about 6 weeks to be harvest ready. They are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are considered to be a weight-loss-friendly food and studies show they may lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health.
  • At only about a month to grow, spinach is a healthy and delicious leafy green vegetable full of vitamin C, A, K, magnesium, manganese and of course, iron. Spinach has been found to benefit eye health and reduce blood pressure.
mix of seeds healthy helpful tips for growing fruit and vegetables in and around your home

Think about the future. Collect seeds from plants so you can grow them the following year. Most seeds can be stored in paper envelopes or bags which are placed into air-tight containers. Make sure to label them with name, date and any other pertinent information to someone else who might inherit your seed stash. For long term storage, most seeds can be kept in the fridge or freezer, provided you educate yourself on proper seed care and storage.

We hope you found this information helpful and interesting. If you’re looking for garden design, maintenance and construction service in Kent including Maidstone, Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas, get in touch to arrange a free consultation and start the process of getting you the garden you always dreamed of. Contact us at: 07598 160812.

 Images used are licensed through pexels.com.

Gardening tips: plant a Hydrangea for summer-long colour

Beautiful colourful Hydrangea flowers in kent
Beautiful colourful Hydrangea flowers in kent

 

Plant hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’
 Hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’ is compact enough for most gardens. Photograph: Alamy

Blooming in spring and summer, the hydrangea is considered a shrub. But despite their ability to be rather large showstoppers in your yard, how to grow hydrangeas isn’t a question even the novice gardener will need to ask – these beauties all but grow themselves. Reaching up to 15 feet in height, the hydrangea grows quickly and often fills in a space in just one summer. You’ll find hydrangeas growing in hardiness Zones 3 to 7 as perennials. With flowers starting in spring and often last throughout summer into early fall, hydrangea flowers can be the foundation plant of your landscape.

Plant this Looking for a flowering shrub with zing? Try hydrangea ‘Kardinal Violet’. On acidic soil, its flowers are violet and purple; on neutral or alkaline soil, they are pink. Bred to flower all summer, at 1.5m x 1.5m it is compact enough for most gardens. It likes a moist spot in full sun or partial shade.

beautiful purple Hydrangea Sargentiana gardening in Kent

Hydrangea Aspera Sargentiana

Sun tolerance: partial sun
Bloom size: 8″ plus
Mature size (feet): 10 x 10

Hydrangea sargentiana, knows as Sargent’s hydrangea, is an upright, rounded, deciduous shrub

Best grown in rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates full sun only if grown with consistently moist soils. 

Add aluminum sulfate to the soil to make the flowers bluer or add lime to the soil to make the flowers pinker. Soil treatments should be commenced well in advance of flowering. Flowers bloom on old wood. Prune after flowering by cutting back the flowering stems to a pair of healthy buds. Prune out weak or winter-damaged stems in early spring. 

List of some herbs to grow inside the home.

indoor herb garden

Low Bamboo LED Grow Light Garden
Modern Sprout Brass Grow-Anywhere Growhouse

Between the convenience of having flavourful herbs on hand whenever you need, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you grew them yourself, there are lots of reasons to consider starting an indoor herb garden. Imagine seasoning your fresh tomato sauce with a few leaves of freshly picked basil, sprinkling a pinch of cilantro in your homemade guacamole, or tossing a sprig of rosemary on your roasted vegetables. As idyllic as it sounds, though, these little herbs pose big challenges for the aspiring indoor gardener. Most require at least six to eight hours of bright light each day and enough water to thrive – but not so much water that their roots will rot.

Here’s a list of great herbs that you can grow right in your home!

Lemon Balm

Grow lemon balm plants for a single year for best flavor. Plant it indoors in the fall, grow indoors through winter, then you can plant it outside for spring and summer.

Chives

Chives grow almost anywhere. Harvest them at the base (like cutting grass), no more than one third of the bunch at a time.

Mint

Growing mint indoors may be the best plan for most of us. Containerizing mint keeps it from growing all over the yard and garden. All varieties are suitable for indoors.

Parsley

If you choose to start parsley from seed, soak it in warm water to crack the seed coat before sowing it.

Basil

Use the smaller globe types of basil for indoor growing. Many of the larger types are too large and will cause space problems.

Bay Laurel

Also known as bay leaf. This shrub can get quite large if left unpruned. It works well indoors through the cold months, but performs best if kept outdoors in warm weather.

Cilantro

Cilantro is short-lived by its nature. Start a succession of seedlings at two or three week intervals to keep a supply going all the time.

Thyme

Thyme is adaptable to pots as small as four to six inches. Simply repot it from a nursery plant, or divide a larger plant that has grown outdoors. Like rosemary and sage, it is easy to propagate from cuttings as well.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass can be grown from seed, purchased as a starter plant, or propagated in water from the fresh herb in the grocery store.

Oregano

Oregano is easy to propagate from cuttings or by division. Take a few cuttings at the end of summer and root out in a cup of water. Fresh oregano is much milder than dried. Use it at the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost.

Rosemary

Take cuttings of outdoor rosemary at the end of summer to grow indoors through winter. Start with a four inch cutting from a branch tip, strip the lower foliage and stick it into potting soil. Cover with plastic to retain humidity as it roots.

Sage

Buy a starter plant or start it from cuttings off an established plant. Simply snip off the growing tips from a plant outdoors and stick them in a pot with good potting soil. Keep the cutting moist and it will root in a few weeks.

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir lime is another woody plant used for its foliage. As with bay laurel, give it outdoor time in the summer if possible.

Mileece is a sonic artist and environmental designer who developed technology to hear the sonic song of plants.

Mileece sonic artist music from plants

In this episode of Sound Builders, we went to Los Angeles, to meet with Mileece. She’s a sonic artist and environmental designer who’s developed the technology to give silent seedlings a portal to their own sonic expression.

Channeling a plant’s sentience into an instrument is no obvious feat. Mileece’s background as an audiophile and programmer dovetailed to turn a garden into an organic medium for music. She pulls this off by attaching electrodes to leafy limbs, which conduct the bio-electric emissions coming off living plants. The micro-voltage then gets sucked into her self-authored software, turning data into ambient melodies and harmonic frequencies.

It’s simply not enough for these green little squirts to just spit out noise. All this generative organic electronic music must sound beautiful, too. As a renewable energy ambassador, Mileece’s larger goal behind her plant music is to enhance our relationship with nature. And if plant music can have a pleasing aesthetic articulation then hopefully we all can give a greater damn about our environment.

While some may see the paradox in an organic medium generating electronic music, Mileece does not. She sees this as a symbiotic relationship, a vital one, and one that hints to a larger relationship she’s been trying to unify, which is that between humans and nature.