How to guides

Seed Potatoes

The Nation's favourite vegetable!

The varieties are wide ranging and some can be grown in large bags or pots on a balcony or patio.

There are three main types of potato to grow, named accordingly to when you plant and harvest them.

- First Early: Crop June and July (best eaten fresh)

- Second Early: Harvest July-August (best eaten fresh)

- Maincrop: harvest Augsust-October (can be stored for a few    months)

Before planting you need to 'chit' your potatoes. This means allowing your potatoes to grow shoots, which will give you a bigger potato crop. Placing your seed potatoes in egg cartons is ideal with the end that has the most eyes facing up. Leave in a cool, light place. Wait until the shoots 1-2cm long (around six weeks).

- They are happy in all soil types but the richer the better. An      open, sunny site is best.

- Water regularly during warm, dry spells and keep the                compost weed free.

- Never grow seed potatoes in the same soil year after year.

-One seed potato will produce many potatoes

-Dig over soil, remove weeds

-Plant in straight trenches 12cm deep and 60cm apart.

-In Spring plant 30cm apart and cover them with soil to     fill the trench.

-When shoots reach 20cm tall, mound soil around the bases   of the shoots, covering the stems half way (earthing up).

-1st early and 2nd early potatoes in a large bag on a patio or   balcony.

Easy to Grow

Shallot Sets

They are an easy to grow vegetable with a distinctive flavour that can be used for cooking or pickling.

Plants can be grown in well drained soil in a sunny position.

It is more risk free growing from sets instead of seeds as they mature quicker, are better in colder regions and are less likely to be attacked by some pests and diseases and need less skill to grow than seeds.

When Planting:

- make sure the compost is well fertilised.

- plant shallot sets 25cm apart in rows 40cm apart from mid-                 November to mid-March.

- Gently push them into soft, well worked soil so that they tip is just      showing. 

- Birds can be a problem so covering with fleece can help.

- Water when dry and remove any flower spikes as soon as they are      seen.

- Shallots can be harvested when the foliage starts to turn yellow in      July.

- Shallots can be stored in trays or bags in a frost free place.

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Soft Fruits

Blackcurrant

-easy to grow

-plant late Autumn/early Spring

-they can be grown in containers

-full sun but will tolerate partial shade

-tolerant in most soils but prefer well-      drained, moist-retentive sites.

-if planting in a container, make sure the pot is at  least 18-20inches in diameter. Plant in a J.Innes  No3 with grit mixed in. Re-pot your blackcurrant  every 2-3years.

- if planting in the ground, prepare the soil with a  manure and some grow more.

-dig a hole twice the size of the rootball.

-plant each plant at least 6cm deeper than it was  previously which encourages young, vigorous  shoots to develop from the base.

Whitecurrant/Gooseberry/Redcurrant

-easy to grow

-plant late Autumn/early Spring

-full sun but tolerate partial shade

-tolerant in most soils but prefer well drained

-space gooseberries 1.2-1.5m apart (4-5ft)

-space red + white currants 1.5-1.8m apart (5-6ft)

-dig a whole that is at least two times the width of   the plant

-ensure you a planting in a well fed or mulched      compost

-ensure watered in dry winter spells 

Pinkcurrants

-more unusual but ideal for decorating desserts or    making summer puddings, jams and jellies.

-robust plants have good disease and pest resistance and produce heavy crops

-plant late Autumn to early Spring

-full sun 

-grow in most, well drained soil

-incorporate manure into the ground

-shelter from cold winds and late Spring frosts as  they can damage the flowers

-grow in rich, moist, well drained soil

-plant in rows 1.2m apart

-plant 2inches below soil mark on the stem, this  encourages extra stem growth below ground level

Cranberry

-low growing evergreen shrub

-hardy

-sunny spot but will tolerate partial shade

-acid soil (ericaceous)

-can be planted in containers

-if left unpicked, the red berries often cling to the    bushes throughout the winter, making a stunning  contrast with the bronze winter foliage

-plant them 1-1.5m apart

-water regularly 

-feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser

-ideal to be put in a variety of dishes as well as  making preserves and traditional cranberry sauce

Gojiberry

-hardy, deciduous shrub

-plant late Autumn

-full sun but will tolerate partial shade

-happy in coastal gardens

-plant in well drained soil or manure

-plant 1.8 (6ft) apart

-can be grown in a container, J.Innes No2 with  added grit

-during the growing season add a liquid fertiliser

-yields a plentiful supply of nutritious red berries,  which can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried

Raspberry

-plant October-March

-thrive in moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly acidic  soil, which is well drained and weed free. 

-sunny position

-ideally site your rows North to South so they do  not shade each other

-raspberry flowers are self fertile and pollinated by  insects so avoid a windy spot

-plant 18inches apart

-can be grown in containers

-in early spring, sprinkle a general fertiliser such  as grow more around the base of the plant

-keep well watered during dry periods

Blueberry

-delicious and high in antioxidants

-can be grown in a garden border or in containers

-sunny/sheltered spot

-keep soil moist

-dislike heavy clay

-don't allow to dry out between waterings

-needs acidic soil (ericaceous)

-ideally watered with rain water

-ensure soil stays at level 5.5pH or lower

-feed container plants every month with liquid  

 feed for ericaceous plants

-you may find plants in open soil don't need  feeding apart from the annual ericaceous mulch  and a high nitrogen feed such as sulphate of  ammonia in late winter

-flowers in Spring need protecting from late frost

- if planting in containers make sure the pot is at  least 12" in diameter then move into bigger pots  as they grow

Boysenberry

-combination of blackberries/loganberries and  raspberries

-full sun

-well drained soil 

-sheltered spot

-does not require constant attention to keep it in  check

-perfect for smaller gardens

-plant 150cm (5ft) apart and the rows 1.8m (6ft)  apart

-fine to grow in containers

 

-can be eaten fresh or used for bramble and apple  jelly or pie fillings

Loganberry

-similar to blackberries but more tart in  flavour.

-plant in late Autumn

-full sun

-can be grown in containers

-for ground plants, space 2m between plants

-along a fence is ideal

-dig a hole larger than the pot and enrich the  soil with manure and growmore

-add support system to keep canes under control

Blackberry

-compact, upright to arching, deciduous shrub with   thornless canes

-will reach height of 2m 

-spread of 3m after 2-5years

-moist well drained soil

-full sun

-sheltered

-plant  1-2.5m apart

-ideal for planting against a wall or fence or  growing in a container

Tayberry

-cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry

-high in anti-oxidants

-excellent for cooking, freezing and jam making

-like full sun

-sheltered spot

-well drained, moist soil

-plant October-March

-plant 2m apart

-flowers late so it is generally not affected by  late frost

-ultimate height: 1.5-2.5m

-ultimate spread: 1.5-2.5m

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