However careful we are to try and take the jargon out of growing your own vegetables, you will undoubtedly come across terms that will mean nothing to you and situations and problems that aren’t covered by the intructions on your packets of seeds.

We hope that this list of articles will cover most of these issues and we will endeavour to add articles as often as we can. However, if you do come across something that isn’t covered here and you think it could benefit other growers, please drop us a line and we will do our best to include that information as soon as we can.

Click below to see information on any of the following topics:

Sowing

Sowing

One of the most common mistakes made during sowing is that, when told to water the pots or trays well, gardeners will pour water onto the top of the compost. Unfortunately, this will simply compact the compost and undo all the careful work you have done so far. The best way to water is to do so from the bottom. To do this, stand the trays or pots in about 3cm of water and leave them until the surface of the compost becomes wet. At this point, remove them from the water and allow to drain for at least 30 minutes. Most seed packets clearly...

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Germination

Germination

What does a seed need to grow (germinate)? In the simplest terms, a seed requires; correct watering, correct temperature, suitable compost / soil, the correct sowing depth and, in some cases, light. Correct watering Correct temperature Suitable soil / compost Correct sowing depth...

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Care after Sowing

Care after Sowing

Once you have sown your seeds, you should examine them at least once a day. They shouldn’t require further watering before you see the first green shoots unless the surface of the compost shows any signs of drying out. When you see the first signs of growth, move the pot or tray to a location where it is in full light but not direct sun. Once the shoots are well under way, remove any glass or plastic covers so that the air can circulate around the seedlings. If you have sown more than one variety in the same container, remember that not...

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Root Crops

Root Crops

Don’t be in too much of a hurry to plant root crops if the soil is cold and wet. never use old parsnip seed from a previous year. Avoid sowing on ground that has recently been manured and, on heavy, shallow or stony soils, it may be best to grow one of the short-rooted varieties. Click below for more information: Carrots Parsnips Beetroot...

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Brassicas

Brassicas

Brassicas is a collective term for broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. All these vegetables are normally sown in a seed bed and will then need to be transplanted to their final positions as seedlings. If you have acidic soil, both the seedbed and the final planting position will need to be limed as brassicas do not grow well under these conditions. Brassicas also need firm ground son only very light surface cultivation should be done before planting or transplanting. For more information click below: Cabbages...

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Salad Crops

Salad Crops

Good soil preparation and plenty of water in dry spells are essential for salad crops. If the soil is poor or the plants become dry at the root, you will struggle and they will often flower prematurely (bolt). A good place to sow is in the dappled shade between rows of taller, slower growing vegetables. To extend the growing season, protect early and late sowings with a cloche. For more information please click below: Lettuce Rocket Spinach...

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Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

It is important to note that insects do not pollinate these plants. They are wind pollinated. To help with this process, you should sow your sweet corn in blocks. It is also important that you isolate different types of sweet corn. This is because cross pollination (one species pollinating another) can spoil the quality of the crop. When the outer leaves (silks) on the cobs turn brown, your crop is ready to harvest.

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Onions

Onions

Onions need to be grown in a sunny position on well drained soil as they dislike wet conditions. Their narrow leaves make it difficult for them to compete for light with weeds so you will need to keep your onion beds well weeded. See Also: Spring Onions

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Squashes

Squashes

All squashes enjoy a sunny position and moist, fertile soil. It will pay you to add plenty of compost or well rotted manure to the soil before sowing. Keep the plants well watered – especially when fruiting begins. For more information please click below: Courgettes Pumpkins and Winter Squashes Summer...

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Peas and beans

Peas and beans

For a good crop of peas and beans, you will need to ensure that the soil is fertile and kept moist. Dig in lots of organic material before planting as this will help to retain moisture in the soil. If you pick the beans regularly, you will encourage further cropping.

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Other Hints and Tips

Other Hints and Tips

After you have purchased your seeds, store those that you will not be using immediately in a cool, dry place such as a garage. Don’t use a damp shed or a hot kitchen. Don’t store your seeds in a polythene bag or store them with things like onion sets as these can sweat and make them damp. If you don’t use all your seed at one time, reseal the packets as best you can and them keep them in an airtight container. Label all batches of seeds as you sow them. Don’t rely on memory – it is fallible. After you have sown...

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Potential Problems

Potential Problems

All your garden plants can suffer from pests, diseases or other problems and seeds and seedlings are no exceptions. Click below for more information: Birds Cats & Dogs Slugs & Snails Abnormal Growth or Development Weak, Leggy Seedlings...

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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Below is an alphabetical list of some of the more commonly used terms in gardening that you may come across. Aeration – commonly refers to either the puncturing of the soil with spikes (spike aeration) or removing of soil from the ground (core aeration). Aeration may be overlooked when trying to restore a lawn but it improves drainage and reduces the formation of puddles. Digging over soil prior to sowing vegetable seeds will break up the soil creating larger air pockets and so aerating the soil. AGM – Award of Garden Merit. An accolade...

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