Home grown is the best

As some of you may know, we like to grow our own fruit and veg her at Layhead, and June is usually a pretty busy for us. Each year we usually have a plentiful supply of soft fruit from our well established black currant bushes and raspberry canes. Most years the plum tree always seems go into overdrive providing us with a plentiful supply of sweet plums for our popular homemade plum jam. Even the old walnut tree gets in on the act later in the year so we have home grown walnuts for Christmas.

If you’ve never grown your own fruit and veg, we’d encourage you to have a go. There is nothing nicer than having fresh homegrown salad as part of a summer meal. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own. Lots of modern varieties of vegetables can be grown in pots. Salad leaves are a classic example. Here are some other vegetables and herbs you can grow in containers: chives, lettuce, radishes, basil, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, peas, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach.

Herbs are also perfect for growing in containers. Here are some examples of herbs to grow – parsley, rosemary, coriander, mint, thyme.

If you fancy having a go at growing vegetables, here’s our easy guide to growing your own peas.

First of all, before planting peas, check on the seed packet what type of peas you are buying. There are shelling peas and edible pea pods so make sure you buy the ones you like to eat.

Here are some basic tips for getting started.

Pea plants like full sun so ensure that your vegetable plot and containers are situated where they can enjoy the sun’s rays.

Peas grow upwards and need support for their tendrils. Whether planted in the ground or in containers, they will need support. You can either use bamboo canes or long sticks. Push the supports firmly into the soil next to where you are going to plant your seeds BEFORE planting so you don’t disturb the seeds.

When peas start to flower, water thoroughly once a week to encourage pod growth (more if the weather is very sunny). To reduce water loss, place a well-rotted mulch around the base of the pea plants.

Peas are nitrogen rich plants so you don’t need to give them extra feed, especially if they are planted in a good compost or have a well-rotted mulch as a top cover.

The pods usually start growing from the bottom of the plant, so harvest these first. Pick regularly to encourage more pod growth.

Where to plant your peas

Sowing Peas Directly in the Ground – Peas like a weed free moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Dig over a patch of ground and dig in some well-rotted compost a few weeks before planting. Birds love to steal pea seeds so cover the seeds with chicken wire or netting until they have geminated.

Sowing Peas in Containers – Plant peas in a container using good quality compost.

Sowing Peas in Patio sacks – Similar to containers, peas can be grown in patio sacks. Fill with good quality compost as you would when using a container.

At the end of the season, cut off the leaves and stems and add to the compost heap. If you have grown your peas in a vegetable plot, dig the roots into the ground to release nitrogen into the soil.

For more information about growing your own vegetables, here’s a great website for urban growers

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