Tips for kitchen gardens

Joe Whitehead’s guide to growing better crops

Broad beans

Stake them before they get too tall and blow over


Grow direct-sown peas in February under fleece to avoid mice and get an early crop

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Runner beans

Support canes crossed at 3ft–4ft give a greater angle, so that when the beans form, they hang free from the cane and allow easier picking

Celery and celeriac

Mulch all moisture-loving crops such as celery and celeriac with leaf mould or garden compost


Hang sections of runner-bean stem on the branches of peach trees to catch earwigs


Sow turnips in modules from March onwards every few weeks. That will enable you to plant them out large enough to avoid flea beetle. Harvest them when they’re no larger than a golf ball

Companion plants

Between every few rows of vegetables, grow a row of annual flowers to encourage beneficial insects for pollination and predators for munching on garden pests. The companion planting of Cosmos Seashells Mix and cornflower Blue Boy also looks good


Hoe and hoe and hoe! If you don’t allow any weeds to seed, you’ll reap increasing rewards with every successive season as the weed-seed bank is gradually reduced