Spring gardening tips: Grow your own fruit & veg at home by following these beginner steps

Gardening: The Rich Brothers give tips on planting with pots

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Maple from Canada UK’s chef ambassador, James Golding, has worked at some of the UK’s top restaurants. In each of his dishes, James makes sure to use seasonal ingredients, and he wants you to do so too.

James has shared his top tips on how to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home.

The chef mentioned the importance of having the right conditions for growing your own produce.

He said: “The best conditions to grow fruit and veg during spring is by planting in a walled garden.

“This works to protect young plants against the elements and is the perfect environment for growing produce,” he added.

If you don’t have a walled garden, James recommended trying to “plant young seedlings in sheltered, well-drained soil with a good amount of sunlight”.

“Depending on your soil it may be a good idea to put down some compost or manure before planting,” he advised.

In regard to which fruit and vegetables to grow, James has advice for beginners who have never grown their own produce before.

“A few key spring staple fruits and vegetables to grow which are relatively low maintenance are things like beetroot, baby carrots, leeks, rainbow chard and all varieties of salad leaves and kales,” said James.

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If you have a small garden or live in a flat without any green space at all, James recommended using a window box garden.

“These have become very popular over the past year, partly because of lockdown,” he said.

James advised planting leaves you can later eat as part of a salad.

“I would focus on planting salad leaves that allow you to cut a decent amount at a time, then let the plant grow again, ready for the next bounty.”

James shared tips on how not to overplant, saying: “Make sure you have at least six inches between each plant and more if it’s a large plant like sprouting broccoli or a fruit tree.”

“If the plant doesn’t have enough space, then airflow is restricted and it can lead to diseases,” the chef explained.

James also mentioned the biggest mistakes that people make while planting their own produce.

He said: “The biggest mistake people make when growing their own produce is usually either under watering in the plant’s early life or over watering and root rot as the plants continue to grow.”

“If you are growing produce in pots, always water into a base tray and not from the top – it sounds simple but trust me, it makes a big difference,” James recommended.

As Maple for Canada UK’s chef ambassador, James has also shared some of his favourite recipes, including a squash purée, made with butternut squash, olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.

James instructed cutting the squash into one-inch cubes and putting them on an oven tray with the oil and herbs, before roasting it all in the oven until the squash is soft.

After 20 to 25 minutes, the squash should be ready to mash with butter and a little salt and pepper for seasoning.

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