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Know your Veg
Recommended equipment
Potatoes Tomatoes Leeks Test It!

Seed collection for a variety of vegetable growing options.

Self-watering seed starting system
for windowsill seedlings

Manger raised planters
for raised growing

Wooden raised beds
to plant out into

Which raised bed style is suitable for you? View our video clips here - allotment,standard, superior.

If you are making the first school purchases and are confused where to begin, view our top 15 beginner gardening club products here

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Choosing what to grow can be hard. At first sight there seems to be a massive choice of fruit and vegetables. Where do you start?

Test Your Soil

If the soil is very acidic, blueberries will do well but not many other vegetables or fruit.

If the soil is alkaline, brassicas such as cabbages will do well.

Most vegetables and fruit need a PH of around 7, with soil which is not too acidic and not too alkaline. Even cabbages and cauliflowers will cope in this type of soil.

Consider Your Size of Space

Windowsill - limited space and most suitable for leafy salad crops, possibly some dwarf beans.

Containers - most crops, especially if grown as baby vegetables and not allowed to grow to full size.

Vegetable plot - anything can be grown.

Choose A Variety of Vegetables

Try to grow a small selection of several different types of vegetables. This will provide variety in growing techniques. It also ensures that there is not a massive harvest of one thing and creating too much to eat at one time. A mix of root crops, leafy vegetables and salad vegetables works well.

  • Root crops are vegetables which have their eatable sections growing below the ground. They include potatoes, parsnips, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, etc.

  • Leafy vegetables are crops which are grown for their leaves and roots or bulbs which grow close to or on the surface. These include onions, spinach, turnips, beetroot, etc.

  • Salad vegetables comprise crops grown for their leaves. These include lettuce, chard, rocket, mizuna, nasturtiums, etc.

  • Add some fruit too. Strawberry plants grow quickly and provide a good crop over several weeks.Children enjoy harvesting them - as long as they can be stopped from eating them at the same time! There are two main types of strawberries - wild or alpine strawberries and cultivated versions.

  • Wild or alpine strawberries are very small and sweet strawberries. Cultivated versions are much larger. These are the types which are sold in the supermarkets. There are many types from which to choose and these are divided into early, main crop, late and perpetual according to when they are picked. Perpetual strawberries will provide a harvest in June, followed by another smaller one in the autumn.

  • Other fruits require permanent planting.

  • Raspberries are easy to grow, but strong supports are essential. New shoots have to be tied in each year. The shoots which have born fruit are cut down in the late autumn. A small harvest is possible in the first year after planting.

  • Gooseberries and blackcurrants provide a steadily increasing harvest each year. They grow as bushes, which need pruning regularly.

  • Apples, pears and cherries are tree fruits. It is possible to get small versions which can be trained as cordons up walls or along paths. These require pruning each year to keep in shape. The first harvest is usually in the year after planting.
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Plan your school Garden
National Curriculum linked classroom lesson plans
Fact Sheets - Getting Started

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