Beetroot are a bit of a neglected vegetable, but they’re easy to grow and offer something new and fresh to your kitchen.
Aubergines are becoming a more common veggie to have in your kitchen, and with new varieties being developed to flourish in temperate climates, they’re easier to grow at home than ever before.
Aubergines are still best grown indoors, so you’ll need a greenhouse or growing frame if you want to successfully harvest these extravagant vegetables.
Sawing aubergine seeds
Plant aubergine seeds in a heated greenhouse, with temperatures between 18 and 21°C. If you don’t have a greenhouse – saw them at home and place the tray with post to germinate on a windowsill.
Sow seeds by placing the seeds at a depth of 0.5cm and keeping them moist at all times. You can grow small plants on in 9cm pots, before transferring them into larger 23cm pots in late March. Alternatively you can buy young plants at your local garden centre.
Growing aubergine plants
To avoid straggly specimens, loosely tie plants onto a stake, and when they reach 30cm tall, nip out the growing tip with your fingers.
As the first fruits begin to appear, it’s important to give plants extra nutrition. Provide a liquid potassium feed every two weeks to bolster crops, and try to mist the leaves at least twice a day to prevent red mite from destroying the harvest.
Once five or six sets of fruits have begun to develop, pinch off any remaining flowers.
Begin to harvest from August when aubergines are around 15cm in length and have shiny skins.