Posted in Events & Adventures in Food

How does your garden grow?

Managing to keep some unidentified kind of rubber plant alive indoors for a few years now does not a gardener make.  Beyond that, it’s been a struggling basil or parsley plant on the back kitchen window that usually doesn’t see the end of a week or two.  When recently asked by Stop Food Waste to support their combined efforts with GIY to get people out there and growing their own I was happy to give it a whirl but this is a new departure for me, a little adventure or foray if you will and sure we’ll see how it goes.
leaves seedlings

First up was the assembly of a couple of raised beds in the garden.  We put two adjoining beds in place, end to end, one for team kids & dad and the other for me.  Now when I say ‘we’ that would be the royal ‘we’, meaning it was in fact ‘he’ who engaged a local joinery company to make up the required lengths of timber (teak) for the beds and he put them in place with the aid of some of his side-kicks while I contributed with some pointing and gesturing.
Compost from the large green bin that graces a corner of our back garden was finally put to use and was topped up with soil sourced for free – it’s probably a bit on the stoney side but sure what do I know!  So far, so frugal.
Spring Onion Seedlings
Chilli Seedlings
Carrot & Strawberries

I had received a packet of Butterhead (Marvel of 4 Seasons) Lettuce leaves courtesy of GIY and being a bit of a freak for following instructions I set about planting them into little seedling pots I had picked up for half nothing in Heatons.  While I set about cultivating my seeds according to instructions, team kids & Dad took the fling the seeds at the soil approach.
(You can imagine what a flat-pack assembly is like chez-moi with me being OCD on starting at  point No.1  Let’s just say screw-drivers should not be kept within reach.)
Team Dad had taken some advice from a wise person (everyone’s a gardener) who told them to alternate onions with the other crops to keep pests at bay but one pest we hadn’t considered however was ‘Kylie’ the family dog.   With the Olympics approaching it seems she has plans for the hop, skip and jump event and it turns out that the raised beds is perfect for her training.
When I finally deemed it time to put my seedlings of leaves, strawberries etc out, I erected a flimsy but effective boundary of bamboo and string to keep Kylie the wonder-dog at bay and so far it’s working.
Tears almost spilled as I attempted to untangle various seedling roots and what entered the ground  looked very weak and flimsy (spring onions, strawberries, carrots, lettuce).  My beautiful lettuce seedlings just keeled over – first I thought they had died but now they’ve turned red and seem to be strengthening up somewhat so we shall see.  I’ve been told by another wise person that it’s best to keep my chilli plants indoors.

Wilted Leaves
Recovering lettuce leaves and barely visible seedlings at my end (Kylie Kiely stands guard)
Raised Beds May 2012
Team Kids & Dad faring better at the other end with the ‘plant straight in the ground’ approach – (time will tell)

I think it’s probably time I did a bit of reading up on thinning out etc. as the parsnips that I planted direct into the ground may need a bit more room if they are going to thrive.  I am loath to pull out growing shoots in order to strengthen others and advice is definitely called for on what to do next.

The truth as always will be in the eating and I will report back anon when something worthy graces the table.  For now I can observe that this growing lark is fun and worth the very little effort that I have given it to date and it’s amazing to see something growing in front of  your eyes.

While all of this has been going on my eldest dried off some seeds from the inside of a shop bought tomato and has grown this beauty indoors – he has made gardening seem incredibly easy.  Maybe some are just more natural at it than others.

Johnnie's Tomato Plant
Johnnie’s Tomato Plant

Please comment with any hints, tips, advice etc.  (you are also allowed to scoff and condescend if deemed necessary).
The adventure continues.
Til next time, Sheila.


Irish Author - Dubut romantic fiction novel 'Good Enough' published in 2021. 'Gimme Dinner' a collection of 50 great dinner recipes published in 2022. 'Enjoy' published by Mercier Press in 2016 .'Gimme the Recipe' published in 2012. Work in admin of our Food Safety Consultancy business - Industrial Management Systems with my husband Denis.

7 thoughts on “How does your garden grow?

  1. Wow, that Tomato plant looks great. I’m wondering when the seeds were sown? I find you can never have enough basil throughout the Summer – and think of all that lovely pesto…:) Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Fiona, He planted the tomato seeds late February and I’ve been watching on in awe as this thing continues to grow. I’ve been told that Basil is very difficult to grow – I’ve only ever bought the potted ones in the supermarket that are flourishing until you get them home. I must try to grow some myself from seed though, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh basil. Thanks for your commnent, Sheila

  2. It appears that your family has green fingers. Good luck with your project. And look at that tomato plant…it is doing great.

  3. Your garden looks great! It will be very exciting for the children to see their produce growing. I find that spinach & beetroot are great ones to grow outdoors, with little trouble.

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