Growing heat-loving vegetables outside

Here are a few top tips for those of you who are growing those more tender, heat-loving plants like cucumber, aubergine, peppers and tomatoes outdoors this summer (rather than in a greenhouse or polytunnel).

  1. Choose the area in your plot that gets the most sun and is most sheltered from the wind so that they get the best conditions possible.
  2. If you have a south facing wall that you can grow the plants in front of, the warmth reflected back from the wall at night will help your plants
  3. Ideally, don’t plant outside until late May/early June when the weather has properly turned to summer
  4. Give plants a good start by adding plenty of nutritious compost when planting them out
  5. Give these tender crops a feed – a tomato liquid feed will work well for most of them, or you can make a worm cast tea using our worm cast fertiliser. If you see leaves turning yellow early in the season, it’s usually a sign that they are nutrient deficient, so a thorough watering and a liquid feed at this point will help. After that, give them a fortnightly feed once flowers start to form.
  6. All these crops are ‘fruiting’ crops, and they need a lot of water. During dry spells, it’s a good idea to water thoroughly a couple of times a week, making sure that the water actually does sink in (try digging a finger into the soil and check that it is moist underneath the surface to check.) If you’re growing these plants in pots, they will need more frequent watering, every other day during dry spells, possibly even daily. Aim for consistently moist rather than waterlogged or dried out!