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Adam, this is good practical advice and I enjoy your tips in the magazine. But am I the only one who struggles with wanting to grow vegetables? I'm doing it because I feel that I should -- I want to teach our children how, and I've been persuaded by Alys's argument that it's "a slightly immoral" not to minimize your carbon footprint by growing some of your own. But as I was saying in this piece (, I'm enchanted by the beauty of the flowers that will come from the ornamental seeds I'm growing, and I find nothing enchanting about the vegetables. Not least because they need so much ugly protection (knitting, fleece, plastic) in the garden. I'm pushing through, but I'm finding little beauty in the experience. Sheila Averbuch -- Stopwatch Gardener
Gosh, I meant netting, not knitting! Maybe knitted protection would look nicer, come to think of it...
I understand what you mean about appearance. Why not try mixing some veg in with the flower? All the bean family have lovely flowers, make great annual climbers and don't need protection. I inter-plant peas and sweetpeas together and a lot of the lettuces are ornamental (if you can keep the slugs off!)I have put spring bulbs in round the fruit area and carrot and nigella foliage go well together. This year I am going to put annual flowers like Marigolds in amongst the veg and I am working out a plan for "drift" planting veg next year when I get brave enough to ditch the straight rows - after all they are only there to max produce and my space isnt big enough to give me large crops anyway.
Thanks Pixley! I've ordered some dwarf French beans and I'm looking forward to planting them. I was half thinking of putting them in the border instead of in my raised vegetable beds -- I think I will! And carrot and nigella (which I already grow) together is a great idea. You're a smart cookie. Sheila Averbuch -- Stopwatch Gardener
I gave up my front lawn 3 years ago, i now have four large raised beds, in which i grow fruit and veg, we still have the back garden to enjoy, but in my opinion, it's the best thing i ever did! In the summer i had lots of positive remarks from friends neighbours and passers by, on the veg garden, and thanks to some of the above posts will now consider adding a few flowers too. :-)


Sow Limanthes douglasii(poached egg plant) in your veg patch as green manure and leave some to flower for the butterflies. Chard comes in lovely vibrant colours, but the important thing is to "see" beauty with some of your other senses than your eyes - the flavour of your own-grown veg. for instance will surpass shop- bought ones. The buzz of bees round your bean plants, the wind rustling in your corn stalks, the smell that makes you hungry when you lift your garlic and onions, the feel of new potatoes as you lift them from the warm soil, all pleasures as great as the sight of a well-tended mixed border. The latter will be good for your children's soul but growing veg. will be great for their health.
I am looking forward to Alys' new series - she is the person who inspired me to mix veggies and flowers together. Yes, the taste of home grown veg is miles better but until I started mixing it up I didn't think veg were worth the effort. I firmly believe Sheila that life is too short to do something because you "should" or because it is fashionable. I think I have broken most garden "rules" trying things out to see what I like/can make work. If you can find a way to make it work for you - great - if not don't let anyone else make you feel guilty. Life is too short to stress over lettuce.
Stopwatchgardener - how about growing any of the following: * sweetcorn - once in, need no care,are large 'grasses' & you wait till the seeds have formed before eating them * globe artichokes - large perennial/architectural plants where you can eat some flower 'buds' & leave others to bloom * courgettes/ marrows/pumpkins - can be great-looking plants, generally flower well & you can eat the fruit or the flowers
My family and I bravely turned a chunk of our garden into a raised veg plot last year. I had two archways between the beds that the runner beans rambled over; forming a bean tunnel it was a thing of beauty. Everyone commented on how it looked, and it tasted great. I am eagerly anticipating our second year as veggie gardeners!
Hello all!! I had a successful year last year growing my own fruit and veggies so thought I'd give it another go this year! I'm growing the same things as last year (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and strawberry's) and have started off a few new ones this year including spring onions, beetroot and lettuce. They are all still very early seedlings but just wondered if anyone had any advice about grouping them when I plant them out? I grow them all in containers and pots so am just looking to save abit of space.
Can anyone advise me please on which broccoli seeds to sow to grow the "Tenderstem Broccoli" that I can buy in the supermarkets?
My wife & I took over an allotment in September last year. It was quite overrun so we have spent the winter tidying the plot up and setting out all the raised beds as we want them. It seemed like the hard work would never end. As a younger couple we have found our allotment neighbours very helpful and have provided us with friendly advice. The time has finally come for us to start to do some planting and we can't wait for our first harvest of crops.
dear sheila, why not turn your vege patch into a potager, for inspiration read Joy Larkcoms book creative vegeetable gardening, Joy has inspired the likes of alys, and pippa, have fun with your vege, mix with flowers (companian planting is good), and herbs too.
It can be difficult to make a veg plot look attractive in the eary part of the season when the ground is cold and weather wet and blustery... I use CDs strung across my beds to deter birds, netting and fleece which doesn't look that great!! As the spring turns to summer and the crops put on lots of growth, companion planting come into flower (sweetpeas, marigolds, chives, basil, summer savory..) and the garden is alive with bees and butterflies...I think that is truly beautiful!!! I have also began to dig up my front lawn...The lawn is poor anyhow and some decorative cottage garden style raised beds will look lovely... I can't wait to get cracking!!!
Please help. What else can I grow in growbags besides Lettuce and Radishes. Could I grow Spring Onions?


Tomatoes,strawberries,cucumbers - all grown by Guides in our community garden last year,were a great success in growbags, treadworthyhall. Spring onions grow well in large pots.
Hi I'm trying to find out more about an excellent looking cloche featured in Episode4 of GW by Toby Buckland. I've posted a message about it on the GW message board. It was rounded/ribbed plastic in a metal frame with handle for easy lifting. Can you help?
Last year I decided to grow my own veg. I made some errors, I learnt alot and I ate alot of lovely fresh produce such as lettuce, toms, beetroots, new pots and carrots. I also tried broccolli but it was a disappointment as it was eaten by caterpillas' I did'nt use any sprays, nettings etc. This year I'm gonna have another go and try parsnips as well. Thank you Gardners World....
yeh have another go with brocoli, i failed the first year, but the last 2 summers i have grown loads, the white butterfly will ravage them so you need to cover, i bought cheap netting from my local garden centre, but you need to have the netting clear of the plant otherwise they lay eggs through the netting, if you dont cover you have a daily job of checking the underside of the leafs for eggs, which you have to brush off if the appear, good luck
Is it not time you devoted some of Gardeners World on Fridays to houseplants especially orchids and the like which are very popular and very difficult to look after and are in a lot of cases very expensive, I am sure this would be very helpful and popular, as these days you very rarely mention house plants. I and many people like me are disabled and our gardening life is devoted to houseplants. Yours repectfully Brian