Growing Our Own Veg

Our move has given us the gift of many things. One of those is a yard and garden. Previously we lived in a flat which had a strict no plants outside policy (including windowsills) so we really couldn’t grow very much. My indoor rocket lasted a while (which our tortoise Fred really appreciated) but other than cacti we deliberately grew little else.

However, we have inherited a gorgeous cottage garden. I have just started to prune it in parts (this is a pre-pruning photo of it). It is truly beautiful and we intend to enjoy some summer evenings in it eating dinner 🙂

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Our yard (at the back) has provided us with the space to start growing our own veg, some of which we hope to eventually transfer into our front garden when we find a suitable space. So far we have started to grow potatoes, beetroot, mixed herbs, lavender, cauliflower, beans and lots of onions! Some of these have been gifted to us from our parents as cuttings. Some as whole plants. Some have come from seeds we have bought from a gift card given by a friend. My parents have supplied us with many pots. Currently they are all plastic ( but second or probably third hand). We are using wool to stop slugs (here’s hoping) and are aiming to go as organic as possible with the growing.

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Is gardening plastic free? Currently no, but so far we have avoided buying any plastic. Everything we have got which is plastic is second hand which is good. Everything we have bought so far has been seeds in paper packets. We hope if we have to buy any pots in the future to re-use things we already have or if needs be buy non plastic pots. Currently an old shoe rack is making a great shelf 🙂

What is exciting is that we are hoping to grow and eat as much of our own vegetables as possible. This would be great for lots of reasons including our carbon footprint but especially because it gives us greater variety in our vegetables. Finding beetroot where we live plastic free would be a challenge, especially in bike-able distance, but currently we may end up with a host of plastic free beetroot (so long as the slugs don’t get to them). We are also looking forward over the next year to learning our harvest times and season. To listen to other gardeners and growers for tips on all the best ways to produce vegetables (fruit is in a year or so’s time).

So any tips folks? Anyone out there doing plastic free vegetable growing what to share any of there learning curves? All are greatly appreciated from an amateur gardener!

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6 comments

  1. You can make pots from newspaper or any paper unwanted. I did it once with the kids at school. They work and can be directly transferred to the soil. There are instructions all over the internet. You can create hot compost bins by creating a glass box from old glass panels from a junk yard. They act like a greenhouse and work very fast. A simp!er method would be collecting wooden pallets from your local market or greengrocer. I’ve also seem a method where two bamboo stakes were hammered into the earth diagonally from each other at each corner of 4. Bamboos were then laid between these across the sides with the ends crossing over each other to make a grid. I can send a picture. Bamboo is good because it’s uniform and smooth so easier to work with but local fallen branches would work too and would look more artistic. Make sure you look up recipes for compost. Just chucking all your kitchen and garden waste in won’t work. It needs air. Layering of organic matter with dry layers of cardboard (cereal boxes, egg boxes etc.) is the simolest way and making sure it stays moist but not too damp. You might need to water it occasionally. Heat is good too so maybe build it with a cover or reuse an old tarpaulin in the wet and cold months or you’ll get little activity for half the year and it’ll take a very long time. Some people seperate citrus peel because it takes much longer to break down and acidifies the soil but there’s debate on this so look into it further. Keep Garden waste seperately. Leaves can be composted on their own and make excellent compost but will take a very long time if you just pile them up at the bottom of your garden. I’ve seen methods using black bin liners but obviously you won’t want to do this so maybe tightly pack them together in a seperate wire or wooden compost bin. Grass cuttings can be mixed in too and will help the process and add different nutrients. Branches and twigs can make a good start for a kind of raised growing bed that uses the branches to aerate from the bottom and layers of other organic matter with a layer of soil on top. Into this you can plant hardy growing things like melon, squash, beans and sunflowers. It decomposes into rich compost and acts as a growing bed simultaneously. Look up Hugelkuktur. Finally look up companion planting. It’s basically planting things with their ‘friend’ plants that offer advantages like fixing or adding nutrients, providing necessary shade, attracting good insects like pollinators or predator insects to eat the ones you don’t want, and detract these bad bugs in the first place. There are also some combinations that will harm each other so it’s good to know in case you doo it accidentally. I’ve used circles of fresh coffee grounds and also salt to deter slugs. Collect donations from neighbours. It won’t be as effective as poison but you won’t have poison on your food either. Hope some of this helps.

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  2. Forgot to mention that Leicester Botanical Garden has a good exhibition on composting. It’s tucked behind the two alpine hot houses near the main house. Worth a visit. 🙂

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