More and more people are growing their own food again. It’s a great way to connect with nature and to get a glimpse of the little miracles that surround us – the miracle of seed germination, or that of a potato sprout emerging from the soil.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of digging up your own potatoes and then using them to cook a delicious meal for the whole family.
Up to quite recently, food growing was considered old-fashioned and too much like hard work. But over the last couple of years, I’ve come across numerous young people starting small market gardens.
I recently asked a young organic market gardener why she chose this profession, as there are far easier ways of making a living and her answer was; “Because it’s cool.” This is a great shift in mindset and hopefully reflects a much wider population.
My new book, The Self-Sufficient Garden, outlines how to grow the 30 most productive vegetables, when to sow them and how much to grow to get a continued supply of fresh and stored crops.
One important thing to remember is that not all crops will be perfect – there will also be some complete crops failures and this happens to the best of growers.
Great beginner’s vegetables
There are many young budding gardeners who have to spend more time at home. Gardening can give us all an escape from the reality that surrounds us.
To get you started, check out my list of the 10 best vegetables and flowers suitable for beginners. These are chosen for ease of growing and also give high yields from even a small space.
The Self-Sufficient Garden is available to purchase on Klaus’ website www.greenvegetableseeds.com
1 Perpetual spinach: You’ll only need about five plants, which will fill a square meter and you will get a weekly harvest of fresh delicious spinach leaves for at least six months.
2 Kale: Kale is another crop that produces a lot of food from a small area. One square meter with three to four kale plants should be sufficient for a small family for at least six months.
3 Oriental salad mix: Again, one square meter should be sufficient to get fresh spicy salad leaves. Sow small quantities every two to three weeks. You can pick individual leaves as required or use the cut-and-come-again technique.
4 Lettuce Surprise Mix: These comprise a mixture of lettuce varieties, which can be harvested regularly over a two month period. Simply harvest leaves as required and leave the plants in the ground.
5 Radish: Radish seeds can be sown directly into the ground. Only sow small quantities every fortnight. They are ready to eat five to six weeks after sowing. These are the ideal starter vegetable for children as the seeds are large enough to handle and they are ready quickly.
6 Courgette: Courgettes are one of the most productive plants, with each plant producing about three courgettes per week over a period of 14 weeks. So you only need one or two good plants in your garden.
7 Scallions: Regular sowing of scallions is necessary to give great crops for many months. I usually sow 10 seeds in each module and plant out the module without splitting up the seedlings. This way I can harvest a whole bunch of scallions. The best variety is Ishikura.
8 Cucumbers: You will need a greenhouse or poly tunnel to grow cucumbers. And if you have one this is the most productive crop of all, producing a cucumber fruit nearly every day over a few months. The best variety is Passandra F1.
9 Tomatoes: In order to get a great yield you will need to grow tomatoes in a tunnel or greenhouse. Once you’ve got the taste of home-grown tomatoes, you will find it difficult to go back to shop-bought.
10 Flowers: Why not grow a bee and butterfly mix to attract our friends into the garden? Calendula, nasturtium and borage can also be used as edible flowers.