WembleyWonderful Tips #58: How to Cultivate Your Garden in a London Flat

Both me and Mr WembleyWonderful are completely ignorant of the art of gardening, having being raised in flats and lived all our lives in cities. Since in London however, we’ve had many (more or less successful) attempts to learn; and the most enjoyable of all has been to grow our own vegetable – especially our own lettuces, which grow all year round and are so hard to find in London supermarkets!

So here is a quick guide of how to start (from a total amateur I repeat):

  • Get yourself a VegTrug ! I used to plant vegetable directly in my garden – but to be honest a vegetable patch is not very good looking, especially in the winter! I recently discovered VegTrugs: they are raised planters, deep enough to even plant carrots, and coming in different sizes to fit your space. There two big advantages are that they take very limited space, so you can even put them out on a balcony; and they are raised, so no bending required … and not snail fighting either!
  • Get yourself some soil for the VegTrug , they do require LOADS so I would strongly recommend getting it delivered directly to your door (which obviously I did not do, having Mr WembleyWonderful available to carry 15 20-kg bags and being in an emergency to get my VegTrug started right away!)
  • Then choose your vegetables . My favourites are lettuces all year round and tomatoes over the summer– but beware that you need to plant tomatoes early enough for them to mature over the British summer. I find courgettes quite funky but they take loads of room, so they would not really work in a VegTrug. Carrots are nice, especially if you go for the unusual species such as the red ones. Radishes grow super fast but they are super frustrating, on radish per seed so you need to plant loads to avoid eating a radish per person at dinner …
  • I like buying seeds from the Real Seed Catalogue, recommended to me years ago by a keen gardener: they’ve got a huge variety of high quality seeds, often with unusual species, with very precise descriptions of what you will get (very useful for dummies like me!); and they have a very ethical / organic approach to seed selection. If you prefer things to go a bit quicker you can buy vegetable plants from plant nurseries (this one is very close to LIL, I haven’t tried it though) and even from supermarkets.
  • And then you just need to water, harvest and eat!

So have a lovely gardening summer!