Relax: Leave your Lawnmower in the Shed and Grow Fruit and Vegetables that Taste Incredible!

I never purchase supermarket watermelons; I dislike their lack of flavour and irritating hard seeds.  However, after years of growing melons for Melon Trials, I hope I always spend spring and summertime growing watermelons!  The best watermelon I’ve grown so far is ‘Little Darling’.  I adore this watermelon’s sensationally sweet flavour and refreshingly crisp texture.  ‘Little Darling’ produces hardly any seeds, the few seeds that do materialise are soft and not noticeable.  I prefer ‘Little Darling’ to Galia and Honeydew melons; I can’t recommend this variety highly enough!

Watermelon ‘Little Darling’ produces these mini rugby ball shaped fruits formed from deliciously sweet and crisp, sugary flesh.

This is the perfect time to sow watermelon seeds.  Fill 17cm diameter pots with peat-free compost and sow one seed per pot.  Watermelons are tender plants that are killed by frost.  Seeds must be started off inside a greenhouse, conservatory, porch, or on a windowsill in a bright room.

Monitor your watermelon plants’ growth; as soon as your plants produce five leaves, trim off the stem after the fifth leaf.  Pruning encourages plants to develop side shoots.  Once your plant produces four side shoots, remove any extra shoots; this will concentrate your plant’s energy on watermelon production.

When all risk of frost has passed, spend at least two weeks hardening plants off: move plants outdoors each morning and bring them inside at night.  Then move your plants outdoors to their final destination; choose a sunny, sheltered spot.  Another option is to grow watermelons inside a glasshouse or polytunnel.

Watermelon ‘Little Darling’ produces mini rugby ball shaped fruits filled with sensationally sweet and crisp, pink flesh.
A bumble bee feasting from flowers produced by one of the Broad Bean ‘Robin Hood’ plants that I grew for my Compost Trial. Pictured in bloom on the 19th May 2020.

Broad beans are another home-grown crop giving gardeners a far sweeter-tasting treat than you’ll ever find at the supermarket.  Broad beans have so many good qualities and reasons to recommend growing them.  Bees adore the large-sized, white, or cherry-pink flowers that broad beans produce.  We enjoy eating shelled broad beans, but most don’t realise that young bean pods are delicious eaten whole, like mangetout.  Harvest immature pods, long before the seed pods develop their cosy, fur-lined layer.  Sow broad bean seeds outdoors now; ‘Express’ and ‘Crimson Flowered’ are ideal to sow directly in the soil and broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ is a good choice for containers.

‘Crimson Flowered’ broad beans produce these rather glamorous cherry-pink flowers that are a magnet for bumble bees.
Here’s a picture of a broad bean ‘Robin Hood’ seed pod with beans that are ready to eat inside. Can you see the fur-lined, cosy layer protecting the beans? To eat broad bean pods whole like mangetout you must harvest immature pods long before the beans near maturity.
I’d encourage you to take part in Plantlife’s No Mow May – simply relax and allow your grass to grow to provide food for nature.

Are you taking part in Plantlife’s No Mow May?  Leave your lawnmower in the shed and allow grasses to grow up and provide food for nature, creating a nature-friendly garden with a softer, meadowy style.  Many butterfly and moth caterpillars feed on grasses and won’t survive on cut grass.

Unsure about allowing your lawn to grow long?  Consider mowing paths through your lawn.  Alternatively, cut one section and allow the grass behind to grow up.  By taking part in No Mow May, you might discover you have stunning poppies, daisies, buttercups, or orchids growing in your lawn – what could be nicer?

To see my guide to creating a meadow, please click here.

For more gardening advice for April, please click here.

To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and find the best methods to protect your seedlings from slugs and snails, please click here.

For more gardening advice for May, please click here.

To see my vegetable plant pages and discover pictures and advice to help you grow a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

To see more articles about edible gardening, please click here.

To see all of my plant pages and discover advice and ideas for growing roses, cut flowers, trees, shrubs, plants for pollinators, fruit, vegetables, herbs, container plants, scented plants, climbing plants, ferns, houseplants, and orchids, please click here.

To see my Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Plant and Seeds Swaps, please click here.

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