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Publication: Garden Guides
Ten Easy Vegetables

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GardenGuides Newsletter
October 24, 2006


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Ten Easy Vegetables

For a relatively easy vegetable garden go for plants that
can be sown directly where they are to be harvested with
little or no thinning.

Cut and come again salad leaves are ideal for this prov-
iding a succession of leaves. Vegetables with large seed,
such as beans are a good choice as they are easy to sow.
Radish are hard to beat for the speed from sowing to har-
vest, but many of the suggested veg can be harvested in
three months from sowing.

Station sowing allows seed that is easy to handle to be
sown at their final spacing, often sowing two or more seed
and thinning to the strongest. Beetroot or lettuce can be
station sown.

If sowing under glass large seed such as pumpkins and
squash or courgettes and marrows are ideal as they can
be sown individually in pots.

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Pumpkins, squash

Most form large trailing plants, which can be trained in
circles, over strong supports or left to sprawl. The large
seeds are easy to sow, either in pots in April/May or in
situ in June. Pumpkins and squash require a moist soil,
but are otherwise easy to grow.

Early potatoes

For a summer supply of new potatoes, early potatoes are
best as they are usually harvested before potato blight
or drought become problems. Plant chitted seed in from
mid to late March for first earlies, early to mid April
for second earlies. Ready for harvest in 13 weeks.

French beans

Require a rich, well drained soil. To avoid the need for
staking choose dwarf cultivars such as 'Purple Queen'.
Sow outdoors once the soil has warmed up in May to end
June. Harvest eight to 12 weeks from sowing.

Runner beans

Easy to sow, with attractive flowers and prolific. Runner
beans need harvesting daily. The site should be well pre-
pared and sheltered. Sow when soil is warm at the end of
May/early June. Harvest 12-14 weeks from sowing.

Broad beans

The hardiest of beans grown. Dwarf cultivars require less
space or staking. Harvest beans sown from March to May 14
weeks from sowing.

Beetroot

Beetroot seed is easy to station sow, but can be tricky to
germinate. Sow from mid March and thin early to one seedl-
ing per station. Choose cultivars not prone to bolting,
such as ‘Boltardy’. Round varieties are ready for harvest
from 11 weeks after sowing.

Lettuce

Choose small lettuces such as ‘Tom Thumb’ or ‘Little Gem’
as there is little wastage. They are ready for harvesting
eight to 14 weeks from sowing. Cut-and-come-again salads
such as the Salad Bowl types, give a succession of leaves,
from six to eight weeks after sowing. Prepare site with
lots of compost to create a fertile moisture retentive
soil. Start sowing from mid March, thinnng early.

Radish

Ready to eat three to four weeks after sowing, sow at
fortnightly intervals from March onwards for a continuous
crop. Seeds should be sown thinly to avoid thinning.

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Courgettes and marrows

Marrows usually trail, courgettes are mostly bushy and are
harvested young as small marrows. Sow seed in situ after
all danger of frost has passed at the end of May to early
June. Alternatively sow in pots in late April to early May
for planting out. Harvesting begins 10-14 weeks from sowing.

Garlic, shallots

Shallots from sets are quick to mature, producing a further
eight to 12 shallots per set. Plant sets in February or
March.

Garlic needs a well-drained and sunny position. Plant in
late autumn except in heavy soils when cloves can be grown
in modules left out of doors over the winter and planted in
the spring. Shallots will take 18 weeks from planting to
harvesting. Garlic is ready for lifting and storing in July
or August when the foliage starts to yellow.

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