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Alan Titchmarsh: My advice to first-timers in the garden

26th March 2020

Think back to when you were taking those tentative initial steps onto your allotment plot or turning over the dirt for the first time in your newly acquired garden. You probably had that warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach; the excitement-mixed-with-nerves one that you get when you’re doing anything new.

Something inspired you to get outside and start your grow-your-own journey, perhaps it was a friend or colleague, something you saw on Instagram, a gardening TV show, or just the desire to take up a new hobby. Whatever nudged you to try out your green fingers; as a newbie to the world of horticulture, the road ahead can be daunting.

In his recent chat with Alan Titchmarsh, GYO Deputy Editor Blake, found out the gardening guru’s top advice and pointers for any burgeoning newbie allotmenteers.

“Grow what you like growing,” Titchmarsh explains. “Things like broad beans are so easy to put in, and I think a lot of people don’t realise, they wait for broad beans to get big, but when they’re young they are quite tasty.”

“Beans and peas are good in that they are large-ish, they’re easy to handle. Lettuce and radishes come up very quickly, spring onions will never let you down. Onions from sets, you know you plant as a small bulb, and providing you plant them so the blackbirds can’t pull them out, real stalwarts like that for me are favourites for getting people going.”


And on choosing the best space to start off in? “Start small and start in a good part of the garden,” he comments. “I always say to people when they want to give a piece of ground to their child, do not give them a bit underneath the tree! Find the best spot, which will have the best chance of growing something really well, even though you may be fond of it, start them off there.”

“To more grown-up gardeners: take things steadily, don’t rush it, and always do the bit nearest the kitchen window first, because then you can see it when you’re washing up. It’s far more encouraging to start at the house and work outwards, it’s a simple thing, but it does work.”

To read more from Alan’s interview with Grow Your Own magazine. Grab your copy of the May issue, which is out now, and comes with a whopping 10 packets of bonus seeds and an extra gardening magazine! Subscribe to never miss an issue and get it direct to your door every month (with up to 10 packets of seeds with every copy!)

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