Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on creating the perfect kitchen garden | Garden | Life & Style

Broad beans

Sow: February-April

Plant: March-April

Harvest: June-July

Broad beans grow 3ft (91cm) tall and need supports. Crops sown in late spring are the most successful.

Problems: Blackfly.

Beetroots

Sow: March-June

Harvest: July-October

Tasty and good for you, sow beets a couple of centimetres apart.

Problems: Beetroot tends to run to seed if it is sown too early.

Broccoli, sprouting

Sow: April-May

Plant: June-June

Harvest: January-March

Broccoli is reliable and delicious. There are summer varieties, too.

Problems: None – it’s pest-free. 

Cabbages

Sowing and planting: Depends on the variety. There’s lots of choice, but baby veg is very tasty. Weed well. 

Problems: Cabbage white butterfly.

Carrots

Sow: March, July-August

Harvest: June-July, 

October-November

Go for flavoursome organic or baby carrots. Avoid stony soil and sow on ground that’s had organic matter applied one or two winters earlier.

Problems: Carrot fly. Grow onions around carrots to mask the scent.

Chillies

Sow: February-March

Plant: May-June

Harvest: July-October

Chillies are popular and grow well in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Problems: Greenfly.

Courgettes

Sow: May-June

Harvest: June-October

This prolific veg is easy to grow.

Problems: Cucumber mosaic virus. 

Cucumbers

Sow: April

Plant: May-June

Harvest: July-October

Grow in a greenhouse or garden. It is well worth it for the flavour. 

Problems: As for courgettes. 

Garlic

Plant: February-March, November

Harvest: June-August

Easy to grow but go for named varieties and start afresh each year.

Problems: Rust disease.

Leeks

Sow: March-April

Plant: June

Harvest: September-March

The latest trend is for baby leeks.

Problems: Going to seed too early. 

Potatoes

Maincrop plant: April

Harvest: September-November

Home-grown spuds can’t be beaten.

Problems: Slugs and potato blight.

Turnips

Sow undercover: March, August or September 

Harvest: May-June or outside April-July

Harvest: July-September

Grow as a baby vegetable.

Problems: Flea beetle, club root. 

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