Gardening for late starters #1

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 If you like the idea of growing your own fruit and veg but still haven’t quite managed to get started, never fear. It’s not too late to get your garden in this year: you just need to start with seedlings and plugs rather than seeds (which is a little pricier but saves a lot of faff and windowsills full of seedlings) and get started asap.

It’s well worth looking for local seedling swaps and plant sales, to get developed plants at a cheaper price than most garden centres charge. If you’re a keen gardener, Seedy Sunday has some great tips on arranging your own seedling swap. Ask gardener friends if they have any spare seedlings too. At the moment, it’s looking like I’ll have more tomatoes than I’ll need (though I’m waiting until hardening off is complete before I know for sure) and will be passing them on to gardener friends: and most gardeners I know have at least a few spare seedlings by this time of year so it’s a good way to get plants for free (just remember to share the joy when you have a glut of seedlings next year.)

Alternatively, if you’re short on time, one of my new favourite companies is Rocket Gardens, who provide garden starter kits with all the plants you could need for a bounteous crop of food. Their small Spring and Autumn/Winter garden comes complete with two planters so is ideal for beginners who are looking to create a fruit and veg patch from scratch. The spring crops, ready for planting out now, include rocket and lettuce, beans,  beetroot, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, courgettes, potatoes, giant red mustard, carrots, tomatoes and peas. Then, once you’ve grown and eaten that little lot, a second package will arrive with your Autumn/Winter goodies, ready to plant, including more kale and cabbage plus calabrese, turnip, Winter purslane (also known as miners’ lettuce as it was used during the gold rush to prevent scurvy), corn salad, Chinese leaf, spring onions, winter lettuce and broad beans. A complete garden and year’s worth of veg for £79.98 is rather bargainous, particularly given the amount of work that will have gone into raising the plants from seed to seedling. If you don’t have enough space for a full veg garden, they also do a container garden collection and windowbox collection so you should find something to suit any space and pocket.

So don’t use the time of year as an excuse. Get gardening!

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