Grow your own: Now is the time to start frost-tender vegetables, fruit and salads

19 April 2017


Now is the time to start frost-tender vegetables including courgettes, cucumbers and French beans. You’ll find these on sale here as young plants, ready-grown for you in our home-grown Caerphilly nurseries all on display in our dedicated Grow Your Own area outside at the garden centre.

These plants are destroyed by cold weather so can’t be planted outdoors until after the last threat of frost has passed: luckily they grow at lightning speed, so it doesn’t matter that you’re starting them off later in spring.

Frost-tender vegetables
Young plants should be potted on as they grow; move them into larger pots so they can carry on growing at their breakneck pace.

Harden your plants off carefully once you’re ready to plant them outside. Move your young plants into a cold frame and open the lights (glass lids) for longer each day over about 10 days until they’re fully open. By the end of this your plants will have adjusted to the cooler, breezier outdoor conditions and can be safely planted out. Cover with a cloche to begin with until they’re established well, then remove and let them grow away for summer.

Runner beans: 2017 has been declared Year of the Bean, so there are loads of new varieties to try plus old heritage favourites returning to our shelves too! 

Most climbing beans are frost tender, so it’s worth waiting till late spring to sow as the risk of late frost is much lower. Sow about 5cm deep in small pots or root trainer modules which allow them the long root run they prefer.

Seedlings should appear within about 10 days. Once they develop their first true leaves, harden them off in a cold frame ready for planting out next month. While you’re waiting, get supports in place. A wigwam or obelisk is ideal for smaller quantities or when growing in pots; on an allotment you can build yourself an A-frame bean support with canes. Plant two or three beans to each upright and tie them in as they grow. You’ll be picking French climbing beans by early July with runner beans following a few weeks later to keep you in delicious fresh green pods through till autumn.

Fill grow bags with salads right now for a steady supply of delicious leaves throughout the summer. Again, we have young salad plants such as cucumbers, chillies, tomatoes and an array of herbs available in our Grow Your Own section, carefully started off for you in our Caerphilly Nurseries.

If you want to have a go yourself at growing fro seed we can help you here too! it’s easy to grow the freshest salad leaves yourself even if all you have is a patio: all you need is a grow bag or two from the garden centre here plus a selection of your favourite salad seeds. Ideal crops for growing bags include lettuce, rocket and radishes but also more unusual salad ingredients like beetroot, chard, coriander and red kale. Or you can take the easy option and choose a packet of blended baby-leaf salads instead.

Growing salads in grow bags

Plump up your grow bag to loosen the compost before putting it in a sheltered spot outdoors in sun or part shade, preferably near the house so you can pick leaves as you need them.

Sow seeds in rows a finger’s width apart, starting with a short row and adding extra rows at two-week intervals (a technique known as successional sowing which gives you a steady supply of leaves till autumn). Once the first batch of leaves reach about 10cm long, snip them away with scissors about 2cm above the compost and they should resprout three or four times. Once they’ve finished, simply clear them and resow straight away.

Visit us today!

No matter what your growing venture this season, know that you can always talk to our knowledgeable and friendly staff here at the garden centre. If you can't decide what you want to grow then simply visit Pugh's and take a walk around our fresh-smelling shelves for some inspiration!