Your fruit and veg needs more tender care

It's a busy time for the fruit and vegetable growers of this country as they try to encourage exotics and tender plants from around the world to thrive and flourish in the cold and often wet English climate.

Cultivating vegetables is an English way of life.

The likes of tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and sweetcorn don’t take naturally to summers, so they need special care and attention to persuade them to provide edible crops in our short summers.

The roots of these plants need to be able to grow in moist, rich soil or compost so that they can draw on water and nutrients all the time they are growing.

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Ordinary garden soil is rarely rich enough to encourage strong growth and rapid flowering and fruiting. In most cases digging in homemade kitchen compost, well-rotted animal manure or bags of soil conditioner is the best way to root happiness. Without plant foods, the leaves will soon turn pale green or even yellow and flowers will refuse to set pods or fruit.

If you have planted small seedlings in enriched soil, it’s a good rule of thumb to start supplementary feeding six weeks after planting.

Pick your food with care. If the plant is going to provide fruits then you need a high-potash feed. If the plant is being grown for leaves, such as lettuce, then the plants need a high nitrogen feed.