How to grow your own fruit and veg
If you’ve always fancied growing your own fruit and veg but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! There are so many benefits to growing your own from garden seeds, and you don’t need to be an expert to get started. You only need a little bit of outside space to start growing, and trust us, you’ll be pleased you gave it a go when you’re tucking into your home-grown tomatoes and spuds!
Whether you’re planting in large spaces such as allotments, or smaller spaces like patios, balconies or even windowsills, we’ll get you started with these 7 simple steps.
Step 1 – pick your seeds
Start by choosing what you want to grow and go for things you like to eat. Do your family love carrots with a roast dinner, or lettuce on a fresh summer salad? Some of the easiest vegetables to grow include peas, runner beans, potatoes, onions and garlic, so choose these vegetable seeds if you want to start simple.
Fancy growing fruit instead? Why not grow strawberries? Nothing beats the taste of them when they’re home-grown, and they’re really easy fruit seeds to grow! Other fruits that are easy to grow include tomatoes, blackberries and raspberries.
If you’re ready to get started in a particular month, our handy garden growing calendar tells you what you can grow and when. Take a look and get inspired!
And there really is nothing to lose with wilko seeds, as they all come with a germination guarantee, which means if any of your seeds fail, we’ll be happy to replace them – that's a little win!
Step 2 – Pick your compost
Get your seeds off to the best start by giving them the best quality soil to grow in. Choose a compost with good drainage, a fine texture and low nutrients to give your seedlings the best chance to grow. Most composts labelled ‘multi-purpose’ will be suitable for growing your own fruit and veg. Our lightweight multi-purpose compost is peat-free, contains no green waste and is grown from fully sustainable sources.
Or make your own compost – why not recycle the nutrients in your kitchen and garden waste and make your own compost for an extra boost? Check out our blog here and we’ll show you how.
When your seedlings are ready for planting outside, if you can, dig in some high organic-matter soil improver. This will give your plants the very best of starts to help them get growing. Make sure your crops are well fed with a good plant feed throughout the season and consider looking into companion planting to really help them flourish and keep pesky pests at bay.
Step 3 – Planting and watering your seeds
When you’ve chosen your seeds and you’re armed with compost, the next step is to get planting! You'll need some pots to start your seedlings off in. Choose from plastic seed trays which you can wash and re-use again and again, or individual fibre plant pots which can be transferred straight into the ground once your seedlings are established.
Top tip: Remember to use plant labels so you know what’s what!
Add some compost to the bottom of your chosen pot or tray, then sprinkle your seeds on top before covering with another light layer of compost. Check the individual seed packet for advice on how many seeds to sow in each pot/tray.
Go for a greenhouse
Why not get ahead and begin your growing season early? Did you know most seeds can start their life in a greenhouse much earlier than they can outdoors? A greenhouse is warmer and provides a more constant temperature for your seedlings meaning much more of them are likely to germinate and grow stronger. Greenhouses are also great for protecting your seedlings from pesky pigeons, mice, slugs and snails.
You don’t need lots of outdoor space for a greenhouse and they don’t have to cost the earth. Check out our range of PVC greenhouses and mini greenhouses which start at just £12. They’re easy to assemble and ideal for growing your fruit and veggies.
Step 4 - Caring for young seedlings
Most seedlings should start to appear within 7-21 days. As they grow, it’s important to keep the soil moist, but not over-watered. A light misting each day with your trigger spray will do the job.
They also need plenty of natural light, so be sure to place in a sunny spot. If you’re not using a greenhouse keep them by a window to get as much light as possible.
Early seedlings don’t need any plant feed as they’ll get all the nutrients they need from the soil, but you could add a couple of drops of watered-down liquid fertiliser after a few days.
Step 5 – Give them room to grow
When roots begin to sprout out of the bottom of their pot or tray it’s time to either transfer the plant outside (if the last frost has passed) or re-pot them into a larger plant pot. If you’re using plastic seed trays, carefully ease the seedlings out so you don’t damage the delicate roots.
Clever Pots easy release pots are the perfect second home for your growing seedlings. When they’re ready to plant out, simply push in the flexible base to release the plant without damaging the roots. They’re made from 20% recycled plastic and are fully recyclable too – that's a little win!
If you’re transferring to a larger pot, fill it with a multi-purpose compost first. Make holes in the compost with your hands or a small trowel. Carefully place the seedling into the hole then secure it by adding some extra compost where there’s gaps. Finish with a light watering from a watering can.
Remember, if you’re transferring straight into the ground and you’ve used fibre plant pots, you won’t need to take the plants out first.
Step 6 - Feeding your plants
Now your seedlings are well on their way, it’s important to regularly feed them to get the best results come harvest time. Plant food and fertilisers are a plant’s best friend when it comes to improving growth rates and boosting any crops. There’s lots of different types to choose from, and we always recommend checking the packaging before use, but here’s the most popular ones:
Liquid concentrate - a concentrated formula that you add water to. One bottle will last a whole season so it’s a great money-saving choice. Try Miracle-Gro's all-purpose liquid plant food. It’s quick-acting as the plant roots take in the nutrients from the water.
Ready-to-use liquid - simply pour onto the plant as per instructions. This is great when you’re short on time and it’s also fast-acting.
Pellets - these are added to the compost. They’re usually slow release and provide nutrients for the whole growing season.
Top tip: When you're nearly ready to harvest, check the packaging on your plant food, to make sure it’s suitable for use right up until harvest.
Step 7 - Watering your plants
We might live in a rainy country but when there’s a long spell of dry weather, make sure you get the garden hose out and keep your plants hydrated (if there’s no bans in place).
Investing in a water butt is also an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to water your plants. Simply attach to your downpipe and collect rainwater which you can then use to water your plants.
Harvest and enjoy!
Continue to care for your crop throughout the season and come the summer you'll be rewarded with a brilliant home-grown harvest.
There’s no better feeling than cooking with your own home-grown produce, and taking time out from the stresses of everyday life and getting stuck into a garden project can help you feel good too.
Take a look at our grow your own veg calendar to find out what's ready to harvest when.