There are many of us who like the taste of fresh baby vegetables and who would like to grow them ourselves if it were not for the lack of space. However you can grow baby vegetables in rather confined spaces given the right amount of care and attention.
Planting and growing your own baby vegetables can be a very satisfying experience ‐ especially when you consider planting them from seeds and watering and nurturing them through to the point when you can harvest and cook them on the same day when they are at their most flavoursome.
What sort of Baby Vegetables Can I Grow?
The choice really is limitless ‐ most vegetables are grown to a smaller scale than perhaps those you are familiar with in supermarkets or green grocers. You have to consider that many of the fruits and vegetables we buy in supermarkets are force grown ‐ pumped full of chemical feeds and protected by chemical weed killers and pest controllers.
Depending on the amount of space and the quality of soil you have to grow them in you can grow quite an assortment of vegetables.
Here are some of the more popular baby vegetables to grow ;
- Cherry Tomatoes
All of these can be grown in small plots of garden, a few metres of space in a greenhouse or even in window boxes depending on available light etc.
When Is The Best Time to Plant?
The best times to plant the aforementioned varies and really is dependent on what you want to grow. Let’s for example look at Courgettes which are a wonderful vegetable to use as an addition to salads, casseroles, soups and stews.
Ideally courgettes should be started off indoors around April and given the right conditions you should expect around four per plant. Germination of the seeds should take no more than five to eight days if carried out in the right conditions and if you choose to store the seeds they have roughly a life expectancy of six years.
These can be grown in window boxes if you are pushed for space as long as you can dig down around twelve inches into the available soil. When they have germinated and are well on their way indoors you should then look to plant them outdoors around May or June ‐ this is especially important if you want to have a decent crop for the summer months.
Care and Attention
Like most other fruits and vegetables baby vegetables need to be tended regularly especially if you are to achieve the maximum yield possible from your crop. You should water when necessary but don’t over water. If the weather is particularly wet then perhaps covering them with some sheeting (careful to leave breathing holes) is a good idea. Again if the weather is particular hot with minimal rain fall it is important to water them regularly but not too much. Early morning before the sun comes out is best as is in the evening when the sun is setting.
When it comes to harvesting your crop you should do so only when you need to use them. Harvesting them too early means they will have to be stored indoors where there is a chance they will begin to shrivel and lose their flavour. Likewise harvesting them too late means they will be overripe and tough.
You should ideally harvest your baby vegetables as and when you are going to use them; picking them and washing them before cutting and adding them to a salad or other dish is the perfect way to ensure you receive maximum flavour and texture.
Although many seeds are now available off the shelf in the larger supermarkets it is best ‐ if you can ‐ to buy them directly from a nursery where you can ask for help and advice from expert growers. Alternatively if you know someone who has an allotment ask them if they can give you some seeds to begin with and ask their advice as to what is best to start growing your own vegetables.