Beginner's Kitchen Garden: Simplifying the Plant World

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The Beginner's Kitchen Garden Mini Series: Simplifying the Plant World

episode description

For the second episode of our brand-new podcast miniseries, Sarah will be explaining and providing all the terminology you need when it comes to creating your own Kitchen Garden. Learn the lingo for growing your own, no matter the size of your space.

in this episode, discover

  • Horticultural terminology easily explained
  • What to plant in your garden and when 

advice sheet

Top tips and terminology

Hardy annuals 

  • These form roots and leaves and then die within one season. 
  • Annuals can be sown now (August), and they will survive the wet and frost of autumn, winter, and early spring. 
  • Hardy annuals struggle when the warm weather hits as they start bolting and eventually die. Salad rocket from Japan or China is a great example of this. 

Half-hardy annuals 

  • Half-hardy annuals don’t like the cold and wet, hail from places like South Africa, South America, and California, and die upon the first frosts.
  • These are sown in spring to plant out in April and May once the colder weather is over. These can then be cropped throughout the summertime.
  • A classic example of a half-hardy annual is tomato plants.


  • A good example of this group is a carrot, which is grown for its roots, not its flowers.
  • Treat carrots like a half-hardy annual, as you don’t want the flowers. Generally, biennials are disregarded when it comes to vegetables in the garden.
  • Parsley is another example, which again, is not grown for its flowers, so should be treated like a half-hardy annual.

Herbaceous perennials

  • These come up in the spring and die back down in the Autumn. 
  • A classic example is asparagus with its prolific ferns and spears. When the autumn comes along, the ferns die back, becoming yellow, and retreating into dormancy.

Evergreen perennial 

  • These include varieties such as thyme, which is becomes dormant throughout the winter months.


  • Varieties such as rosemary and sage qualify as subshrubs, these are perennial but slightly woody at the base.

Why is this important? 

  • Growing the right plants at the right time is essential for any gardener looking to start a kitchen garden. 
  • Sarah likes to divide her produce, sow into two groups, from August to April and then April to August. This method should provide you with sustained crops throughout the year.

August to April 

Sow these hardy annuals and evergreen perennials These are easy to grow and highly productive: 

  • Parsley 'Gigante di Napoli'
  • Lettuce 'Merveille de Quatre Saisons'
  • Rosemary 
  • Salad rocket
  • Kale 'Redbor' F1
  • Chard

April to August 

Half-hardy annuals include:

  • Courgette ‘Romanesco’ 
  • Cucumber 'La Diva'
  • French Bean 'Blue Lake' (Climbing)
  • Runner Bean 'Polestar'Tomato ‘Sungold’ 
  • Basil ‘Sweet Genovese’
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