GAR­DEN­ING

Turn your bal­cony or pa­tio into a homegrown haven.

Fairlady - - CONTENTS -

Homegrown havens

VEG­GIES ON DE­MAND

Store-bought veg­eta­bles may be con­ve­nient, but there’s noth­ing like fresh pro­duce from your own gar­den. A lack of gar­den space shouldn’t stop you: use your pa­tio or bal­cony to grow veg­gies in con­tain­ers. Cauliflower and rhubarb are per­fect for sow­ing in au­tumn, as both pre­fer cooler tem­per­a­tures and look strik­ing in a pot. Space out har­vest times by stag­ger­ing the plant­ing sched­ule to keep your din­ner ta­ble con­tin­u­ally stocked with de­li­cious good­ness…

CAULIFLOWER

Soil prep: Cauliflower needs very fer­tile soil en­riched with plenty of com­post. A gran­u­lar fer­tiliser like 2:3:2 can also be added. Use a heavy soil to re­tain the nu­tri­ents. Add lime if the soil is slightly acidic.

Sow­ing: Use big, deep con­tain­ers, and sow the seeds one cen­time­tre deep. Plant at in­ter­vals of two weeks to a month, de­pend­ing on the amount of cauliflower you want, to stag­ger the har­vest. Once the heads are 10cm in di­am­e­ter, fold some of the outer leaves over the head to avoid dis­coloura­tion (keep them in place with string).

Wa­ter­ing: Never let your cauliflowers dry out; they will stop grow­ing if they wilt. They need lots of wa­ter but en­sure they never have ‘wet feet’.

Feed­ing: Fer­tilise ev­ery two weeks, with a side-dress­ing of either gran­u­lar or liq­uid fer­tiliser.

Har­vest­ing: Cauliflower takes 16 weeks to har­vest. The head should be fully de­vel­oped and round. Cut the head off and re­move the rest of the plant.

RHUBARB

Soil prep: The soil must be rich in nu­tri­ents. Add com­post, rot­ted ma­nure or any­thing high in or­ganic mat­ter. Don’t use chem­i­cal fer­tiliser when plant­ing or in the first year of growth. Di­rect con­tact with ni­trates will kill the plant.

Sow­ing: Rhubarb needs a large pot for its vast root sys­tem. Place two to three seeds in each con­tainer.

Wa­ter­ing: Wa­ter rhubarb well – they like well-drain­ing soil.

Har­vest­ing: Avoid har­vest­ing in the first grow­ing sea­son in order for the stalks to be­come es­tab­lished. Har­vest stalks when they’re 30-45cm long by twist­ing or cut­ting at the base. The leaves are poi­sonous – DO NOT CON­SUME!

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