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Grow your own – 4 easy plants to start with

Growing strawberry plants at home

Grow your own at home

Top tips for growing fruit and vegetable for beginners

Fancy growing fruit and vegetables in your garden? There’s plenty you can grow with just a bit of space, sun, soil, water and some top tips from us!

If you’re a beginner, it can be tricky to know where to start but it doesn’t have to be confusing. We’re giving you a simple guide on some fruit and vegetables that are great to get started with if you’re new to growing food in your garden.

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How to grow your own strawberries

Strawberry plants are pretty hardy perennials – even with a bit of neglect, they’ll likely come back year after year. Although it’s worth replacing after a few years as they tend not to produce as much fruit after a while.  

Planting and care


Strawberries can easily be grown in containers and need little space to grow a good amount of fruit from early summer right through to autumn.

What’s great about strawberry plants is that they’re not too fussy. They’ll grow well in a pot, a hanging basket, growing bags, window boxes or in the ground and will do well in a sunny sheltered spot as well as in light shade.

You can plant out strawberries in spring – April or May is best to be able to harvest the fruits in the summer months.

Strawberry plant growing in soil in a garden

Strawberry plants like to be kept well-watered and fed with a fish, blood and bone feed especially when they’re first establishing. Always be sure to follow the instructions on how to dilute the feed as fertiliser that hasn’t been diluted correctly can damage the plant’s roots.  

Adding straw to the base of the plant will help to keep your strawberries clean, and deter slugs and snails while reducing weeds. Keep an eye on weeds cropping up – they’ll be competing for nutrients with your strawberry plant.



When harvesting your strawberries – be sure to wait until they are red and juicy and look ready to eat. Fruits won’t ripen any further once they’ve been picked.

To boost your chances of having plenty of fruit again next year, cut back your plant to around 5cm when it’s no longer producing fruit and feed with a general fertiliser.

How to grow your own tomatoes

Growing from seed

Tomatoes can be started indoors from seeds or can be bought from the garden centre as young plants.

If you’re planting from seed, you can sow these on a sunny windowsill under a propagator or cling film from late January to mid-march.

Planting and care

You can plant your tomatoes outside in May after the risk of frost has passed.

Tomato plant growing in a garden

Tomato plants do best and produce better tastier fruit when they’re grown in full sun, so pick a spot that gets sun for the longest throughout the day and that is quite sheltered from the wind.

Plant each tomato plant into a 30cm container or bed filled with good-quality compost. You can also use a tomato growing bag to grow up to three plants in.  

If you’ve chosen the cordon (indeterminate) variety of tomato plants, these will need to be supported with stakes as some can grow up to 6ft.

The bush (determinate) variety are more compact and do well in pots of hanging baskets.

Water tomato plants regularly making sure to keep the compost moist. Try to avoid watering the leaves and the stem – tomato plant leaves don’t like to be wet.

Use a plant feed every ten days or so once the plant has started to flower. Be sure to use the feed as the instructions direct to avoid damaging the roots.

How to pinch out side shoots on tomato plants


Cordon tomatoes grow best when the side shoots are pinched out. Doing this keeps your plant growing in one long strong stem rather than branching out uncontrollably. Look for stems spouting between the leaf and the main stem – these are your side shoots.

You don’t have to worry about this with bush varieties – another reason bush and tumbling tomatoes are often the better option for beginners.



When harvesting, leave the fruits on the plant to ripen to a lovely red colour before picking.

When grown in their native environment (somewhere nice and warm all year round like Spain or South America) tomatoes are a perennial but here in the UK, it is difficult for them to survive the winter as they aren’t tolerant to frost.  

How to grow your own cucumbers

Planting and care


Cucumbers prefer to be planted in a well-draining good quality compost. Before planting, loosen the soil to a depth of 30cm and mix in quality compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil.

Cucumbers like a lot of moisture to produce a good crop and will do well in a greenhouse to hold in the humidity. Water the plants deeply once a week, making sure to soak the soil to a depth of at least 15cm. Avoid getting water on the leaves if you can.

Cucumber plant growing in greenhouse

Feed your cucumbers with fertiliser every two weeks or so. Be sure to use as the instructions direct.

As your cucumber plants grow, they’ll need to be secure to a support to keep them growing strong and sturdy and from trailing on the ground. You can use a trellis, stakes, or cages to support the plants.



Your cucumbers are ready to pick when they are 15-20cm long and have a firm texture. Harvest them regularly to encourage the plant to produce more fruit.

Cucumbers are an annual plant and will need to be replaced by a new plant the following year

How to grow your own pepper plants

Growing from seed


If you’re starting from seeds, it’s best to start them indoors on a sunny windowsill in late winter or early spring. You can use a seed tray or small biodegradable pots filled with seed compost.

Plant the seeds about 1cm deep and water them lightly. Keep the soil moist and warm, and the seeds should germinate in about 10-14 days.

Chilli pepper plant growing with a small white flower blooming

Planting and care


Seedlings and young plants can be planted outside when the risk of frost has passed and temperatures are consistently above 12°C – usually from late May. 

Pepper plants need plenty of sun, warmth and humidity to do well. They have similar growing conditions to tomatoes so they make good growing companions.  

They also need well-draining soil, so if your soil is heavy mix in some sand or perlite to improve drainage.

Pepper plants do well in sunny borders around 30cm apart or in large pots on a nice sunny patio.  

They need to be watered little and often – be careful not to overwater or to leave the pots waterlogged as this can cause root rot. Once the plants have grown to about 15cm tall, you can start using a liquid fertiliser every week or so.

Temperatures over 30°C can reduce fruiting so if you’re growing in a greenhouse, keep an eye on the temperature and install shading if things are hotting up too much. 


To harvest your peppers, simply snip them off the plant with a pair of secateurs or garden snips. Like tomatoes, in the UK pepper plants are grown as annuals and will not survive the frost. 

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