Vaccinium – Blueberry
High in fibre, Vitamin C and K, and a very popular berry, blueberries are easy to grow providing you remember a few important aspects. First of all, they love acidic soil, so if your soil leans more neutral or alkaline, consider growing them in large pots of ericaceous compost. Give them an annual prune and feed in early spring. Keep them in a nice sunny garden location and you should have lots of berries!.
Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) – Kale Nero Di Toscana Precoce
Kale is a bit of a powerhouse as it is very nutrient dense and can produce a bountiful supply of greens. It can be used in all kinds of dishes, and has the added benefit of looking extremely ornamental in border. It is also hardy, so can be grown and harvested throughout the winter when many other food crops would fail. As with other brassicas, you may need to protect it from pests, such as peckish birds and cabbage root fly.
Beta vulgaris – Beetroot
Beetroot, or beets, is another example of vegetable that is hardy, so can be harvested in winter and early spring. Beetroot seed do require a little warmth to germinate, so get the seedlings started while the weather is still fine. These nutty-tasting vegetables are known to divide opinion. However, they are packed of essential nutrients and have numerous health benefits eaten cooked or raw. The enlarged roots can be boiled or roasted, or are delicious grated onto dishes. Beetroot is a three-in-one vegetable, as along with the roots, the leaves and stems are also entirely edible.
Petroselinium crispum – Flat-leaved Parsley
Parsley is widely used as a garnish on many dishes, but it has many health benefits, being high in so many vitamins and minerals. It is said to be antibacterial and decrease inflammation to boot. It is the main-stay of many herb gardens as it is inexpensive to buy and grows easily from seed. This plant is a biennial, so it will need replacing every couple of years. Keep it well watered and harvest regularly to discourage the plant from flowering early and going to seed.
Cucurbita – Pumpkin
If you have the space, consider growing a pumpkin plant or two, as they are high in vitamin A and antioxidants and look fantastic ripening on the vine as autumn arrives. While the plants require a sunny, sheltered location and lots of water, these savoury fruits are easy to grow. Pumpkins will succumb to frosts, so acclimatise young plants, and wait for the warm weather to come in before planting out. A great plant to get children interested in gardening – what could be more exciting than growing their own Halloween pumpkin?