Are you a new gardener looking for expert advice? Then you’re in the right place. At Cois na hAbhann, we’re proud to offer you expert gardening tips and tricks to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to create your dream garden.

In our gardening advice section, you’ll find easy-to-follow month-by-month guides on caring for your garden and helping it thrive through each month of the year. Your gardening journey starts today!

Taking Root: The Beginner's Guide to Growing Your Own Veg

Taking Root: The Beginner's Guide to Growing Your Own Veg

Embracing the beauty of Ireland's lush landscapes and unpredictable weather, starting a fruit and vegetable garden can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor. While the Irish climate is known for its moisture and ever-changing skies, with some careful planning and a touch of patience, you can create a wonderful garden that flourishes with a variety of fruits and vegetables.


Understanding the Irish Climate

Before delving into specific crops, it's important to understand the nuances of the Irish climate. Ireland enjoys a temperate maritime climate, characterised by mild temperatures, ample rainfall, and unpredictable weather patterns. Winters are relatively mild, and summers are cool with long daylight hours. This unique climate sets the stage for a diverse range of crops to thrive throughout the year.


Selecting Your Crops

  1. Potatoes (March - June): A staple in Irish cuisine, potatoes thrive in the cool, damp conditions of the Irish climate. Begin planting early varieties in March and continue through June. Consider varieties like "Rooster" and "Kerr's Pink" for a delicious harvest.

  2. Carrots (March - June): Carrots appreciate well-drained soil and can be sown directly into the ground from March to June. Early spring plantings benefit from the warming soil and consistent moisture.

  3. Lettuce and Leafy Greens (March - September): Lettuce, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens can be sown in succession from March to September. Start early in the season for a fresh spring harvest, and continue planting for a steady supply throughout the summer.

  4. Onions and Shallots (February - April): Plant onion sets or shallot bulbs in late winter to early spring for a reliable crop. These crops enjoy well-drained soil and appreciate the cooler temperatures of the Irish spring.

  5. Berries (Strawberries - March / Raspberries - Autumn): Strawberries can be planted as early as March in well-prepared soil or containers. Raspberries, on the other hand, are best planted in the autumn to establish roots before winter.

  6. Peas (March - May): Peas are well-suited for the Irish climate, thriving in the cooler months of spring. Plant them directly into the soil from March to May for a tasty harvest.

  7. Cabbage Family (May - July): Crops like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can be started indoors in late winter and transplanted outdoors from May to July. These vegetables appreciate consistent moisture and cooler temperatures.

  8. Beans (May - June): Both bush and climbing beans can be sown directly into the soil from May to June. These warm-season crops thrive during the summer months.

  9. Root Vegetables (Carrots, Parsnips, Beets - April - June): While carrots were mentioned earlier, don't forget about other root vegetables like parsnips and beets. Sow these crops from April to June for a fall harvest.

  10. Herbs (Throughout the Year): Many herbs, such as parsley, thyme, and chives, can be grown year-round in Ireland. Plant them in pots or in a designated herb garden for easy access to fresh flavours.


Inside or Outside?

You may want to start your seeds off indoors to give them ample time to develop before transplanting them outdoors. 

A Solid Foundation-

  1. Choose Your Seeds: Selecting the right seeds is the first step. Opt for varieties that are well-suited to the Irish climate and your preferences. Consider starting with crops like tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, which can benefit from an indoor head start.

  2. Gather Supplies: Assemble the necessary supplies, including seed trays, potting soil, grow lights, and containers. These tools will help create a nurturing environment for your young plants.

  3. Start Sowing: Follow the recommended guidelines on the seed packets for sowing depth and spacing. Plant your seeds in the prepared trays filled with moistened potting soil. Keep in mind the germination time for each crop, as this can vary.

  4. Provide Proper Light: As seedlings emerge, ensure they receive adequate light. If natural light is limited, consider using grow lights positioned a few inches above the seedlings to promote healthy growth.

  5. Maintain Ideal Conditions: Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level to encourage vigorous growth. Water your seedlings gently and avoid overwatering to prevent damping off, a fungal disease.

  6. Harden Off Seedlings: Before transitioning your seedlings outdoors, expose them gradually to outdoor conditions. Place them outside in a sheltered area for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time over a week or two.

Transitioning to the Outdoors: Timing and Preparation

  1. Choose the Right Time: Timing is crucial when transitioning seedlings outdoors. Wait until the risk of frost has passed and the outdoor temperatures are consistently mild, usually in late spring or early summer.

  2. Prepare the Soil: Choose a well-draining location with nutrient-rich soil for transplanting. Prepare the soil by amending it with compost to create a welcoming home for your seedlings.

  3. Harden Off Completely: Before transplanting, ensure your seedlings are fully acclimated to outdoor conditions. Extend their time outdoors gradually until they can withstand a full day outside.

  4. Transplant with Care: Gently remove the seedlings from their containers, being mindful of their delicate roots. Plant them at the same depth they were growing indoors, ensuring the soil is firmed around them.

  5. Provide Protection: Young seedlings may still need some protection from wind and cold temperatures. Consider using row covers or cloches to shield them during their early days outside.

  6. Regular Maintenance: Water your plants regularly, especially during the establishment phase. Monitor for pests and diseases, and address them promptly to prevent damage.


Starting a fruit and vegetable garden in the Irish climate is a journey that requires a combination of knowledge, patience, and adaptability. With the understanding of the climate's unique characteristics and the right crop choices, you can cultivate a garden that thrives in the ever-changing Irish weather. By following the recommended planting months for each type of produce, you'll be well on your way to enjoying a bounty of fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables that reflect the beauty of the Emerald Isle. So roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and embrace the rewarding experience of nurturing your own little piece of Ireland's green paradise.

Back to blog