The time to grow your own vegetables is more important than ever, according to Alasdair Urquhart, plant advisor at Haskins Garden Centre.

Price hikes to staple items such as lettuce, broccoli and courgettes have dominated much of the news agenda this year, in response to Brexit as well as recent torrential weather conditions across the continent.

In response to this, Haskins Garden Centre is actively encouraging gardeners to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Alasdair Urquhart, plant advisor at Haskins commented: “Growing your own vegetables or herbs is such a fulfilling activity. You can sample the fruits of your labour and get to understand the growing process, while being safe in the knowledge that your staple items are without unnecessary pesticides and chemicals.

“This year the news agenda has been saturated with stories of price hikes to our much loved staple items, but once you know how, it is easy to grow a few of your favourite vegetables at home and be more self-sufficient. It’s also a fun outdoors activity in which you can involve your family.”

Alasdair’s tips on growing lettuce include:

  • Plant the lettuce in a moisture retentive soil
  • If growing from seed, sow little and often every few weeks to avoid gluts
  • Water the growing lettuce regularly
  • Protect the lettuce whilst it gets established using a simple plastic cloche
  • Salad leaves can also be grown in pots or patio containers in a warm, sunny spot
  • Use Ferric-Phosphate slug pellets to protect the lettuce
  • Deter aphids by growing scented herbs close to the lettuce crop
  • Add extra flavours and textures to a salad with more unusual varieties such as landcress, sorrel and lambs lettuce

Haskins has locations in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex.