Gardening: no plot? Just sow in the box

“Growing your own fruit and veg is becoming increasingly popular, and more and more people are discovering the many benefits of growing your own food,” says Daniel Carruthers of Cultivar Greenhouses.

What to plant

“If I had to name one plant that I could always grow, eat and sell, it would have to be lettuce,” says Jane Scotter, a biodynamic farmer from Herefordshire ( who grows seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs, some of the best restaurants in london.

“A high-quality crop that’s highly coveted by both restaurant customers and individuals,” notes Scotter, who also just launched her first online gardening course with Create Academy.

Varieties of lettuce leaves

There are many varieties of lettuce leaves that you can grow. “For spring, I like the sharp zing of mustards like mizuna, mibuna, purple ruffles, and gold ruffles,” says Scotter. These are all from the cabbage family and germinate and grow quickly.

fruits of the vine

“Tomatoes are a firm favorite in most salads and with the current shortage in many supermarkets, it’s a great time to start growing your own tomatoes,” suggests Carruthers. “Cucumbers are a perfect summer fruit that add a refreshing crunch to salads. There are almost 100 different strains, so choosing which one to grow can be a minefield.”

How to plant lettuce seeds

Sow the seeds directly into clean, weed-free soil, says Scotter.

“They’re not hungry eaters, so high fertility isn’t a big issue. If you don’t have a garden, fill a container or wooden box (with holes in the bottom for drainage) with organic compost. Fill the box at least 20 cm deep with the fine soil. Pat in firmly and evenly.

“Then, using your finger or a round tool the thickness of a felt-tip pen, make a small trench about 2 cm deep and 4 cm wide,” she adds. “Aim to have the seeds about 1-2 cm apart. Don’t worry about being too specific, but don’t try to overseed as the plants will be small and not as healthy.”

Cover carefully with soil and press firmly. She says one should water the rose with a watering can first, otherwise the seeds will not be evenly moistened, moreover, they may float away if water is added too sluggishly.

“If these are started in early to mid March you should see germination within 10 days. Sow at least four rows. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and in a sunny spot outdoors. Your lettuce leaves should be ready for the first harvest within three weeks,” says Scotter.

“The strains I mentioned are cut-and-come-back plants — meaning you can cut at least four times from the same plant before the leaves start to get tough and lose their flavor.” Gardening: no plot? Just sow in the box

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