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Posts Tagged ‘growing vegetables’

One day in February I decided that as I am a nutritional therapist – I should have a go at growing things (to eat).

I wanted to appreciate what goes into growing some of the foods that I recommend people to have in their diet. In fact I wanted to get that satisfied feeling that I had actually managed to grow something. I am not green fingered, so if I can manage it anyone can as long as they can squeeze a bit of space from their garden or even their patio. Lily, my assistant and I go out to look at little shoots that have come up over night and are constantly amazed and delighted by them (well it’s a novelty at the moment)

I have done this with a little bit of advise from a gardening lady.  I can’t say that I have taken it too seriously – or placed it high on the agenda – which is partly why I am only really just starting now at the end of June. I did with he help from Lily, manage to plant some seedlings that my children had helped start to grow (kind of as they put the seeds in the pots that I supplied, then left them in their play house to die).

My small vegetable patch has been very hard come by, as my husband doesn’t want me to create a patch that fails to mirror the rest of the garden. I have very surreptitiously gained inch by inch of earth. I did get lucky (if you can really call it that) as our house has subsidence and the insurance company has insisted on taking out vegetation – this has allowed me to get a bit more space, but I had to wait for it as insurance companies move in a completely different time dimension to normal folk.

So for all you people out there that have never even considered growing something here’s what we are doing. I hope that this encourages you to have a go yourself. We can learn together. If any of you have any advise to give us please feel free, it would be appreciated. As yet I have not got great satisfaction as the vulnerable little seedlings look painfully fragile and I can’t quite believe they will grow into edible foods.

Getting the seeds ready

6 weeks ago we planted seeds in some seedling pots – as it was quite warm I took them from the children’s playhouse and kept them on the garden bench. They sprouted quite nicely.

WEEK ONE

Getting the earth ready – June 15th

I first started getting the earth ready with the children. We spent 3 hours just getting the small stones out. My daughter and I raked . dug and sorted whilst my son played with his strange monster toys around our feet.

My son enjoying the mud

Then we waited for the tree men to remove a few bushes that the insurance company claimed were bringing down our house (hmm). Having cleared these we raked some more. I then went to the nearest garden centre and purchased some organic compost which smells like it will produce robust organic fare.

The soil is ready for planting

I also bought: tarragon, two cherry tomato plants, mint, dill, strawberries and 3 pots to grow these in.

We had previously planted some seeds in a few starter pots: Sage, radichio, radishes, chives, thyme, rocket and beetroot.

Shoots Ready for Planting

We watered the earth and place compost on top. We then marked out lines with wooden kebab sticks and thick white thread.We then lifted the seedlings out and planted them using the space guide on the seed packs. I also put a couple of old bits of floor tiles down as stepping-stones.

We also planted some other seeds that are fine to go straight into the ground: swede, cabbage. Lettuce and broccoli, in this picture you can see a few tiny broccoli shoots about a week after sewing. You can also see we have an awful lot of stones in the earth.

I decided to keep the tomatoes in the pots, along with a selection of herbs in another pot and the strawberries in an old pot. It’s a bit of a cop out but they are safer it seems.

Tiger Helping Out

I tore a piece of the pack to put on the stick to mark what was growing and where. Of course with the help of our cat Tiger (a very loud Bengal).

Strawberries

We also planted a few beans seedlings. These are really cut and quick to grow. I have put long kebab sticks next to them and they have started o grow up them. The little feelers they put out are so delicate. When they are big enough we will take them out of the pot and put them at the back of the patch with much bigger sticks.

Beans

Tiny Broccoli shoots

Freshly Planted Seed

We were actually very pleased with our efforts and it all looked very hopeful.The next day however I went out to check on it and found that the foxes had bitten through 3 of our strings and managed to move a lot of the sticks.We have since had the fence completely renewed and I think they are unable to climb such a high fence. They do still come in the garden but so far have only chewed through two more strings. I can tell that they are still walking over it though.

We have considered getting netting – but I feel that the foxes will find that even more enticing as it is another thing for them to chew.

To day we will put lots more sticks everywhere so it is harder to walk around that area. The patch gets watered twice a day, we all take it in turns.

A rather strange thing is happening over night. Where the fox chews through the string (well I am assuming it is a fox) the string is then loose. For two mornings running I have come out to find the loose string wound up and pulled down into a small  in the ground. I have to pull it all the way out. It’s as if a small being has wound it up and then buried it. I am the first down stairs at 6am so I know it is not my children. I would love to set a camera up to capture all the animals that are contributing to the early morning state of our vegetable patch.

June 28th 2010 Monday
I have cleaned it all up and put new string onto the one that has gone missing (maybe completely buried by the underground string thief!)

So far it really hasn’t taken that much effort, it has been fitted in to what time I have at the end of the day or a snatch lunch break and a little weeding and watering at the weekend. I have asked my daughter, my assistant and any one else who is around to water it and keep an eye out for weeds.

June 30th 2010 Wednesday

Yesterday morning I went out side to find the string everywhere – the seedlings were trampled and there were holes where the foxes paws had been. The seeds are getting displaced and seedlings are getting trampled.

Last night I decided to take further action against fox activity and use sticks instead of string to keep them of the vegetable patch.

Sticks to Protect Patch from Wild Animals

It does appear to have worked although a few sticks had been removed and some trampling had occurred.

I have been a bit preoccupied with the fox destruction and have not been taking notice of the fact that the beetroot shoots are not growing any bigger. The seeds that I planted along side them are growing – so it seems that planting them straight into the ground may be better.

The radishes are doing well – although some have been trampled

Radish Shoots

June 30th 2010 Wednesday

Yesterday morning I went out side to find the string everywhere – the seedlings were trampled and there were holes where the foxes paws had been. The seeds are getting displaced and seedlings are getting trampled.

Last night I decided to take further action against fox activity and use sticks instead of string to keep them of the vegetable patch.

It does appear to have worked although a few sticks had been removed and some trampling had occurred.

I have been a bit preoccupied with the fox destruction and have not been taking notice of the fact that the beetroot shoots are not growing any bigger. The seeds that I planted along side them are growing – so it seems that planting them straight into the ground may be better.

The radishes are doing well – although some have been trampled

Other things to grow:

Lately I have been sprouting seeds with great success. I bought a’BioSnacky’ jar approx £4-£5. It is so simple to use.
I chose mung beans first and then I tried sunflower seeds.

Sprouting Mung beans

The directions are so simple – you soak the beans / seeds for approx 7-8 hours so can be night or day and then empty out the jar – fill again and rinse the empty out complete and leave to grow. Once a day you fill up with water and rinse off again. The sunflower seeds too 3 days – and they were wonderful (I think my favourite sprouted seeds)

Sunflowerseed Sprouts

I had then with cubed papaya, mustard cress – which I also grew very easily and an avocado and onion spelt tart that I created. (I will make this recipe available soon as it was really good)

Mustard cress is so easy – I found these lovely painted mental pots on a tray for around £10 that I will use over and over. I put some peat in the pots water them and sprinkled the seeds –they grew in less than a week. Give them a very small amount of water every day.
You can of course just grow cress on cotton wool or tissue – but I like to think that more nutrients are going in if you have some soil.

Watercress

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