Plant it, grow it, eat it

Home-grown, ready to be picked and dowsed with cream © www.accidentalsmallholder.net

Home-grown, ready to be picked and dowsed with cream

There's something wonderfully satisfying in tucking into a meal you have grown yourself. You don't need an expansive allotment or even a garden to enjoy home-grown treats, a small window box can do. 

What you need:

  • fruit or vegetable plant seeds
  • a pot to plant them in
  • peat free compost

Whether you want to start big or small, allotment or windowsill plant pot there are all sorts of fruit and veg you can plant and grow yourself. Our ranger Pip Morse recommends potatoes as the best starter vegetable. These can be grown anywhere; planters, tubs and even window boxes.

Plant from spring time onwards, tubers planted in April will be ready to be harvested around mid June. Kept in dark, cool and dry areas they'll last for a very long time; you could even roast them up for your Christmas dinner.

Fruity ideas

For fruit, try out strawberries or tomatoes, again these can be grown in small spaces, grow bags, on windowsills, gardens or allotments. Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are best sewn in April/May and harvested in August/September. You could make your own ketchup for those sneaky Sunday fish and chips.

Strawberries should be picked in July, ready for eating with copious amounts of cream watching Murray win at Wimbledon. They like well drained soil, sun and plenty of shelter. It's good to plant them in soil that has not already had either tomatoes, potatoes or chrysanthemums as they are all prone to similar wilting problems.

It's easy to make jams and jellies from fruits such as strawberries, quinces, medlars, apples and pears. We have only recently finished the medlar jam our visitor reception manager made from the fruit of the medlar trees in front of Godolphin House. For more inspiration pop into our potting shed for more tips and insights.

Top tip: make sure you plant the right thing at the right time. Seed packets will always have dates in which they should be sewn or potted and tips on how to get the best results.