Top Tips: Plant a Victory Garden Amid Coronavirus

24 March 2020

During World War 2 those on the home front grew Victory Gardens to ease food shortages and boost morale. Starting a vegetable garden takes more love than money, so why not start your own whilst stuck at home and reap the tasty rewards throughout the year!

Starting Out

From pots to plots, there are vegetables to suit homes and gardens of every size. Growing your own isn't complicated.

The weather is still a bit too cool and unsettled to plant too much in the ground, but you can plant almost anything indoors, where it will grow into nice sized plants, ready to transfer to your garden later.

Old jars, paper cups, squash bottles and even rolled up tubes of newspaper are all suitable plant pots. Fill them with soil and plant a seed. Keep the soil moist and warm, until the seeds germinate and the plant sprouts.

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Here’s a list of 10 easy to grow veg, fruit and salad to get you started.

Salad Leaves

Plant seeds in pots, keep well-watered, and cut leaves when required. You’ll be cutting fresh leaves within 3 weeks and the plants continue to produce leaves until late Autumn.

Radishes

Radishes can be used to spice up your salads and they're easy to grow in containers or sow them directly into the ground. They are usually ready to harvest within four to six weeks.

Potatoes

Plant potatoes in potato bags that are only part filled with compost. When the green shoots begin to appear above the soil, simply cover them with more compost. Repeat until the bag is full, and then you only need remember to water them! The real fun comes at the end of the season, 10 to 20 weeks later when the foliage starts to yellow and die back. Tip the bag out and rummage around in the soil to collect up your own home-grown potatoes. Simple as that!

Peas

Peas are an easy crop that enjoy cooler weather. Sow them directly into the ground from March to June and look forward to the incredible sweet flavour of fresh picked peas after two to three months. All they need is support for their stems - simply erect some chicken wire or netting between supports at each end of the row. Remember, the more that you pick them, the more they produce!

Spring Onions

Easy to grow in pots or in the ground. Perfect for a salad or stir fry. Plant them now and you’ll be enjoying these within 8 weeks.

Broad Beans

Sow broad beans in Spring in small pots before planting out, or sow directly into the ground. Within a few weeks these quick growing beans will make sturdy plants. Tip: Pinch out the top few leaves when they’re about 3” tall to encourage the plant to produce more pods.

Runner Beans

Almost as simple as broad beans and you can sow them in the same way. Runner beans are climbers so give them plenty of space and train them onto wires or a plant support frame. Keep them well watered and they will reward you with a constant supply in summer. Remember: Regular picking is essential.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are virtually maintenance-free crops and are easy vegetables to grow. Simply plant onion bulbs and individual garlic cloves on well-drained soil in spring or autumn - then leave them to it! In late summer when the foliage yellows and dies back, you can lift them and dry them in the sun before storing them. What could be easier?

Tomatoes

Tomato plants are so quick that you can almost watch them grow! Choose a bush variety that can be planted in hanging baskets and window boxes. Bush varieties don't require training or side-shooting, so you only need to feed and water them before the fruit starts to pour from the plant.

Beetroot

For an easy to grow root vegetable try beetroot. Often used in salads but can be eaten warm and freshly boiled as a vegetable. Beetroot can be sown directly into moist ground from March to July. As they grow, thin the seedlings to about 5cm apart. From May to September you can look forward to harvesting your own colourful, succulent beetroot.

For full guidance follow the instructions on seed packet when planting at home. And remember to share your progress and any tips on Social Media using #VirtualACF #Keeptheflamealive #CadetForceResilience