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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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7 - Growing vegetables
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Pulling up radishRoot crops
Grow radish, carrot and spring onions as a summer salad crop. Sow rows from early April onwards at two-week intervals to get a constant supply. Thin to 2.5cm (1in) between plants for small, succulent roots. Do not transplant the seedlings because their roots will be damaged, resulting in a poor crop.
CarrotsSow maincrop carrots in late spring to early summer, thin to 7cm (3in), and harvest in late summer.

Potatoes are technically swollen stems rather than roots but for convenience are associated with the root crops.
PotatoesThey are grown from ‘seed potatoes’, which must be sprouted or ‘chitted’ before planting. Place the seed potatoes with the buds or ‘eyes’ upwards on a tray in a frost free place in good light so that they do not get drawn until the shoots have grown to about 2.5cm (1in). Plant 35-40cm (14-16in) apart in April.
CabbageCabbage family
For autumn and winter harvesting members of the cabbage family (Brassicas) - winter cabbages, brussels sprouts, purple sprouting - sow the seed in pots in the greenhouse, or indoors from late March to late April. Sow summer cabbage in early spring, then transplant the seedlings outside in late May.
Plant the seedlings 50cm to 60cm (19in to 24in) apart in rows 75cm (30in) apart.
Brassicas are a particular favourite of birds so use a deterrent. CDs on string seems to be pretty effective.
Brassicas are also susceptible to a disease called club root, so don’t plant them in the same place year after year. Adding lime to the soil to raise the pH above 6 will also help to reduce the risk of the disease.
They are also susceptible to attack by the caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly. Try covering crops with a crop protection mesh. It keeps the butterflies out, so they can’t lay their eggs on the plants.
Onion setsOnion family
You can grow main crop onions from seed, but it’s much easier to grow them from ‘sets’ which look like tiny onions. These are planted 25cm (10in) apart in rows in late March.
Red onionsYou’ll get the best onions on well draining soil. To store them, wait till the leaves have died back naturally. Don’t bend them over by hand, then uproot them. If it’s dry and sunny, leave to dry outside for ten days, if it’s wet dry them in the shed or greenhouse.
Leek varnaLeeks need a long growing season, so seed in early spring and thin the seedlings to 30cm (12in) apart. Even when mature they’ll last a long time in the soil, so lift as needed. Plant leeks deeply using a dibber so that you get long, white stems.
7. The productive garden

Setting up your plot
Growing vegetables
 Salads, peas and beans
 Root crops, cabbage and onion
Growing fruit
The kitchen diary
Greenhouse growing
The herb garden
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