Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also known as sunchoke in the US, is often used for pickling purposes. They’re tasty, available all winter, exceptionally easy to grow, completely undemanding, very low-maintenance and ideal for gardening beginners. This large plant is a perennial sunflower native to North America. The fresh tuber tastes like a water chestnut and is used in salads. Tubers can also be cooked like potatoes.
While they do have pretty yellow flowers, they are grown for their edible roots, which are high in inulin.The edible tuber is highly nutritious and, unlike potatoes, contains no starch, but rather carbohydrate in a form that is metabolized into natural sugar.
Growing Brussels Sprouts – If you love Brussels sprouts you will find that home grown ones taste far better than those from the supermarkets, especially when harvested after a first frost. Brussels sprouts are particularly suited to our cool climate and provide lovely fresh vegetables throughout the winter months when not much else is available. Brussels sprouts like a firm, free draining, non-acidic and fertile soil and are suitable for growing in sun or partial shade but need a sheltered spot and protection from strong winds.
Preparing your site
Start preparing your site in the fall or winter months before sowing by digging the soil well, removing any large stones and adding lots of garden compost or well-rotted manure.
Growing carrots – Don’t plant your carrots in soil that has a lot of weeds. Try to turn the soil as much as possible and use weed killer to get rid of the weeds. Ideally, you should use organic weed killer if you can get your hands on some. Unfortunately, once the carrots start to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to weed them.
Sow the seeds sparingly on top of the soil and cover with about 5mm of top soil. Mulching with straw or hay will help to keep the seeds moist, and this will also make it easier to water without disturbing the seeds. The plants need little other attention during their growth period, although the plants should be kept well watered – too little water results in coarse, woody roots.
Vegetables can also take their place in the mixed border, along with herbs, perennials and shrubs. This relaxed attitude to growing vegetables allows you to add plants for color and to fill gaps. It also has practical value as the more varied the planting, the more it helps to prevent a build-up of the pests and diseases attracted to particular plants. French marigolds, for example, and pot marigolds attract beneficial insects and deter harmful ones, so planting vegetables in a mixed border next to them will be beneficial.
Ruby chard is a coarse, spinach-like vegetable with deep purple leaves and spectacular scarlet stems and veins. It associates dramatically with herbaceous plants at the front of a border.
Window boxes are the first vegetables garden for many people. Attractive window boxes are probably more appreciated than any other form of container gardening, they brighten city streets, embellish housing estates and often display marvellous ingenuity of color that takes an enormous amount of time and care to achieve.
To grow your little vegetables garden successfully in a window box demands all this, but provided sufficient care is taken and the plants are watered and fed on a regular basis, excellent results can be obtained that will astonish everyone.
Growing indoor tomatoes is like raising a spoiled children. There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes and they are grown worldwide in many different climates, soils and weather conditions. Yet, the hearty tomato plant has a few demands that it places upon we gardeners before it will produce those luscious tomatoes we all enjoy so much.
All tomato plants can be cultivated indoors. However there are some varieties that have been specifically bred for indoor environments and the limitations of containers. Your local nursery will help you pick out the right one for your climate and growing season.