The secrets to growing success

A collection of step-by-step guides which we will be posting monthly, it's not our intentions to provide an absolute guide to planting for every crop or herb because everyone's timings, growing references and methods will be slightly different.

  • Make your salad super this winter
    Plenty of salad crops can grow outside in winter, with a little protection. In early autumn, the soil is still warm enough to sow seeds direct, while plug plants or seedlings planted out will establish quickly. Make sure you choose hardy varieties of your favourite salad leaves, or you could try and experiment with more unusual crops such as winter purslane and salad burnet.
  • Growing your own garlic is easy!
    Garlic cloves should be planted in midwinter to ensure a good harvest the following summer. It's always best to buy bulbs from seed merchants that are certified virus-free and bred for growing in local conditions. In mild regions, the cloves can be planted out in prepared ground and covered with cloches or fleece. Or simply plant into seed trays, setting out the young plants in March.
  • How to sow bedding plants
    Half-hardy annuals provide a burst of colour in summer borders and containers. To allow as long a flowering season as possible, sow seed early so that plants have plenty of time to establish before planting out. Once risk of frost has passed, plant your home-sown plants outside. Many varieties sown indoors by March or April will start to flower as early as June.
  • The secret to growing beautiful sweet peas
    No garden is complete with the fragrant, nostalgic smell of sweet peas, they can be trained up a trellis, a wigwam of willow or hazel sticks, obelisk, or support them with canes in large pots. They bring colour and height to borders and make excellent cut flowers. Sweet peas dislike root disturbance so sow them in root trainers or fibre pots. This will enable you to plant them out in their containers without damaging the roots.
  • How to grow amazing aubergines
    Aubergines, like tomatoes are members of the potato family (Solanum). To ensure a good crop, aubergines must be sown early (February to March) and kept in a warm, sheltered spot. Although they can be grown outside in milder areas of the country, the best results come from growing plants on a windowsill indoors or in a greenhouse.
  • How to grow scrumptious strawberries
    A hanging container packed with strawberry plants not only looks great, but will provide you with a rich harvest of fresh fruit over several weeks. By choosing varieties carefully and you can have fruit from June until early autumn.