Watermelons are great fun to grow! If you’re wondering whether we can grow these delicious fruits in the UK, the answer is yes we can grow watermelons! However, these plants will need to be started off in the protection and warmth of a glasshouse, polytunnel, or conservatory, and in the north of the country, (and in exposed positions) it may be preferable for watermelons to spend their entire lives indoors.
Swiss Chard (also known by the botanical name Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens) is a magnificent vegetable that brings a touch of its own exquisite beauty to the gardens and allotments where it’s grown. This is another vegetable with an array of common names, it’s also called: Leaf Beet, Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. For ease of reference, I try my best to stick to calling this vegetable Swiss Chard; although I do also call it Chard from time to time – sorry about that.
Leeks (also known by their botanical name Allium porrum) are tasty vegetables that have short sowing window and a long growing season; as a result, many gardeners miss the leek’s narrow seed sowing period and accordingly fail to grow these delicious and versatile vegetables. Like the majority of edible plants, leeks grow best in a sunny or partially shaded area.
Rocket (also known by the botanical name Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa) is a fantastically easy-to-grow edible; it’s a productive plant with leaves that bring a deliciously peppery flavour to salads and culinary dishes. I really enjoy rocket leaves eaten fresh in a salad. One of my favourite simple suppers is a jacket potato with rocket and avocado. However, you can also cook with rocket, as these leaves produce delicious soups.
Arctium lappa can be found growing wild across Europe, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean, as well as other locations around the world. In the UK, Arctium lappa is more commonly known as Greater Burdock, but I’m sure that this plant has a range of common names, as it’s a native plant of so many countries.
This is an edible and medicinal plant that is grown or foraged for food and medicine.
Aubergines (also known as Eggplant or by the plant’s botanical name, Solanum melogena) are tender plants that need warmth and bright sunshine if they’re to thrive. Sow aubergine seeds in pots of peat-free compost, inside a heated propagator or glasshouse, from January to April. Ensure your seedlings are grown in an area that enjoys bright light.
From the end of May or beginning of June, (when there is no risk of cold temperatures or frost) if you garden in a warm area, aubergine plants can be hardened off (brought out from the glasshouse during the daytime and then taken back inside again at night for a couple of weeks), before being planted outside in a warm, bright and sunny area.
Beetroot, also known by its botanical name of Beta vulgaris, is an easy to grow root vegetable, which can be sown outside, from March until the beginning of August, in the UK.
There are a great many beetroot cultivars available, offering beetroot in a great many shapes, sizes, and colours.
You might opt to sow a traditional, round, globe shaped beetroot, or you may choose to sow a cylindrical beetroot, which has been bred to produce evenly shaped beetroot slices, ideal for pickling, such a Beetroot ‘Alto’, an F1 Hybrid, which you can see pictured in the image for ‘Beetroot’ at the top of this page.