As May arrives, the warmer weather and longer days create the perfect conditions for growing your own organic herbs and veggies. In this article, we will guide you through the process of selecting, planting, and nurturing your herbs and veggies, ensuring a rewarding (and hugely satisfying) journey from garden to table. So, seize the moment, roll up your sleeves and get ready to savour the unparalleled taste and nutritional benefits of growing your own organic delights!
Choosing the Perfect Plants:
May is an excellent time to choose herbs and veggies that thrive in the UK's climate during this season. Popular choices include basil, chives, mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, peas, radishes, potatoes, spinach, and beetroot. Consider your taste preferences, available space, and growing requirements when making your selections.
Preparing the Soil:
Prepare the garden bed by clearing away any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller, ensuring it is well-draining and enriched with organic matter. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure to enhance soil fertility and structure - the RHS has some fantastic tips for soil preparation on the link HERE.
Starting from Seeds or Seedlings:
Decide whether to start your plants from seeds or purchase seedlings from a local nursery or garden centre. Starting from seeds provides a wider variety of options, while seedlings offer a head start. Sowing times vary depending on the plant, so make sure you follow the planting instructions for each herb or vegetable and also take factors such as spacing and planting depth into consideration!
Providing Adequate Care:
Proper care is essential for the thriving growth of your plants. Water them regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the plants can help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. Keep an eye out for pests and promptly address any issues using organic pest control methods. Prune herbs to encourage bushier growth and pinch off any flowers that may affect the taste and quality of the leaves.
Harvesting the Rewards:
As your plants flourish, the time will come to harvest the fruits of your labour. Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach can be harvested by picking the outer leaves as needed, allowing the plants to continue growing. Harvest herbs by snipping leaves or stems, promoting fresh growth. Veggies like tomatoes, carrots, peas, and radishes should be harvested when they reach their appropriate size for optimal flavour.
Purdy & Charlotte’s favourite herbs and veggies to grow:
Basil: A versatile herb with a variety of flavours, from sweet to spicy. Ideal for adding a fresh touch to salads, pasta dishes, and sauces.
Chives: These fragrant and mild onion-flavoured herbs are perfect for enhancing the taste of salads, soups, and creamy dressings.
Mint: Refreshing and aromatic, mint is excellent for flavouring beverages (especially Pimms in the summer!), desserts, and savoury dishes like lamb or pea soup.
Rosemary: Known for its robust flavour and pine-like aroma, rosemary is a great addition to roasted meats, potatoes, and hearty stews.
Tomatoes: A staple in many gardens, tomatoes thrive in the UK climate. From cherry to beefsteak varieties, homegrown tomatoes are bursting with flavour and ideal for salads, sauces, and sandwiches.
Lettuce: From crisp romaine to tender butterhead varieties, growing lettuce provides a constant supply of fresh salad greens throughout the season.
Carrots: Easy to grow and packed with nutrients, carrots come in different colours and sizes. Enjoy them raw, roasted, or added to stews and soups.
Radishes: These fast-growing root vegetables add a delightful crunch and peppery flavour to salads and sandwiches.
Spinach: This leafy green is rich in nutrients and can be enjoyed fresh in salads, wilted in stir-fries, or added to smoothies.
- Beetroot: A vibrant and nutritious vegetable, beetroot is versatile in the kitchen. Enjoy it roasted, pickled, or grated into salads.