Over the last couple of years I have really enjoyed growning my own fruit, herbs and vegtables in my garden.
The first year in our own home, we just through down a few seeds and saw what grew. We had some surprising successes with such minimal effort. Spinach was particularly easy and we got a terrific crop. Runner beans, peas and cucumbers also did relatively well. Most herbs we planted were successful, with several surviving the harsh winter and have grown back beautifully; in particular the mint which you should always put in a pot or it will take over your entire garden!
This year in early spring I started more seedlings off in little yogurt pots; namely tomatoes, courgettes, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cucumbers. After hardening them off (putting them outside in their pots for a few hours during the day), I planted most of them outside in May, once the frosts were over, just holding onto the tomoatoes to keep them warmer for longer. I sowed others straight outside in April like lettuce, runner beans, carrots, spinach, onions, parsnips, pumpkins and garlic. This year I bought some strawberry plants, blueberry bushes and a grapevine too.
We had a bit of a slug attack at the beginning of June, they savaged most of the courgettes, the brassicas and all the lettuces completely. The runner beans and other root vegetables took a hit but just about survived for a while until the really hot weather hit. After a thorough look at everything and picking the nasty slugs off, scattering broken egg shells around the vulnerable veggies and putting in a few beer traps too (half fill a yogurt pot with beer and plunge into the ground); we seemed to be under control again!
Pretty much everything else come June really was flourishing. The herbs and particularly the grapevine started to look amazing, compared to a month ago. I was holding out a lot of hope on the tomatoes, they weren’t as big as I’d hoped for at that point but crossed fingers we’d get something!
I only just got round to sowing cucumber and some more pumpkin seeds (as where I had originally sown is too shady) on the last day of May! They germinated and I was really impressed with how well they’d done in just a week. I just hoped for some cucumbers to put in a few glasses of Pimms this summer and some pumpkins in time for Halloween!!!
The first lot of spinach was disappointing, it really didn’t take in the new place I’d planned for this year, I think it was just too shady. I tried again in a different, sunnier part of the garden and it’s done brilliantly.
The onions, shallots, carrots, garlic and parsnips were also doing well, I think a few potatoes had sneakily emerged too from last years crop!
It is now August and I’m really pleased with how things have worked out. There have been several success stories like the tomatoes, spinach, courgettes, carrots and other root vegetables and some failures like the runner beans, swede, turnips, kale and the brassicas mainly due to slugs!! It’s all a learning curve though and I thoroughly recommend growing your own at home. Give it a go. Plant as much in the sun as you can, grow for as long in doors as you can until things are pretty established and watch out for the slugs!!
Happy Allotment Week Everyone.