5 popular vegetables and how to grow them
As a general rule growing vegetables is quite straight forward and most vegetables don't need much in the way of extra attention. However, some vegetables do require something slightly different or a bit extra in the way of care. Here are some useful tips on a few extra tasks you will need to do to successfully grow five of the most popular vegetables.
Leeks are quite easy to grow in the right soil conditions but they do require a bit of extra maintenance. They need transplanting and earthing up. Leeks do best in a sunny position on any reasonably good soil but not anywhere that is at risk of becoming waterlogged in winter. Leek seedlings should be transplanted into their final planting positions in late May or June when they are about the thickness of a pencil. Make holes 15cm deep and 5cm wide with a dibber. Drop one seedling into each hole and fill the hole with water. Do not replace the soil. Rows should be 30cm apart. Planting the seedlings in deep holes will produce leeks with white shafts of a good length.
There are not many dishes that can be cooked without the humble onion which makes it one of the most popular vegetables to grow. The best way to grow onions is from sets, or baby onions. Onions need a sheltered sunny site and soil which retains moisture but has good drainage. Sets are usually planted from early to mid spring. Rows should be 30cm apart and the onions should be gently pushed into the soil with around 8cm between each one. Because onions have shallow roots they should be kept free from weeds that will compete for water and food. When onion bulbs reach maturity their leaves turn yellow and topple over. Harvest them when the leaves have shrivelled.
Celery can be quite tricky to grow and is probably not the best vegetable for a beginner. It requires earthing up in order to produce those tasty white stems. The way to grow celery is to plant it in a trench about 40cm deep so that you can then earth up by simply filling in the trench. Earthing up celery is usually done in three stages - plant out in August, wrap newspaper around the stalks to keep the earth out and earth up to about 8cm. Earth up again about three weeks later to about 15cm. Finally, in another three weeks, earth up again to cover the stalks completely. Celery can be harvested in November.
Trailing marrows and squashes
Marrows and squashes will require the sunniest spot on your vegetable plot. Each plant will grow along the ground and will need quite a bit of room with spacing of about 1.8m. Seeds often do better if sown straight into the ground in early summer. Once the young plant has been planted and watered in well, add a layer of mulch around the plant to keep in the moisture and keep down the weeds. When each plant starts to mature, pinch out the growing shoots on the side of each plant when they are about 60cm long.
Yes, rhubarb is a vegetable. It is one of those versatile vegetables that makes both delicious sweet and savoury dishes. It can be grown from seed but this is unreliable and so it is best to buy young plants or propagate by root division. Rhubarb can be forced in order to produce an early crop of tender stalks. This is done from mid-January to February by placing a dustbin, old plant pots or rhubarb forcer over the plant so that all light is excluded. Insulate the rhubarb crown by packing straw around it. The stalks should be ready to eat around six weeks later.