….And a Mini Green house.
Two weeks into March and the U.K spring time is fast approaching. Which means Kitchen Garden planting starts. In February I spoke about getting my house ready for spring. And oh boy haven’t I just! On my spring ready to do list, was to tidy the garden and start sowing seeds that needed to be sewn ready for the season. So true to list ticking form, I have made a start.
Now I am a complete and utter amateur when it comes to growing anything green, especially if its edible. I got the bug during the 2020 worldwide lockdown starting off with partially grown tomatoes and herbs and strawberry’s, then planting my own potatoes. This blog post isn’t going to be a professional know how, with tips of the trade. So if thats what you are needing to read right now my blog post today isn’t for you. However, if you are looking for a more amateur prosepective full of regular newbie gardeners mistakes with lessons learnt? Stick around as I am documenting my journey into all things home grown! Best yet, why don’t you join in with me?
How does an amateur green grower, grow?
As I said above my home grown obsession started in last year. With a few mistakes and lessons learnt, my little 2x by 2x kitchen garden patch was a success. I have so much more confidents this year! I’m even starting from scratch and sowing seeds, and adding a couple more selections of veggies. I am so glad I started off with a few herbs and veggies already sown as it has definitely given me the courage to progress – having that little helping hand. Something I would recommend if you are also just starting out.
I had brought a lot of seeds last year in my excitement of growing fresh Fruits and veggies. In that nieve haste, the seeds I had brought, I’d missed the window of sowing them by a few months. So I kept hold them and intend to use them this year. To be honest I need to use them as a few of my seed packets have use by dates for 2021. Who knew seeds could go off? Having said that, I would advice to check your packets use by dates. Definatly check what can be grown successfully in what season. Especially for the particular part of the world you live in.
Another Key point to make, which was a common vocal point when I was strolling google and youtube. To only grow produce you actually like. The amount of work, time, money and effort that goes into growing things, you’re want to be able to eat them. Unless your growing them for other people? It’s a little waste of time growing things you won’t eat.
Another thing I learnt very quickly, and I will add again was common on the homegrown how too hymn sheet. The positioning of where you are growing things. Something to think about regarding to where the sunlight and other environment elements, are important. Certain fruit and veg and herbs alike prefer different amount of sunlight or shade? I thought all my veg and fruits has to be in direct sunlight all day long! I quickly found out that strawberries like a lot of sunlight, but potatoes and my herbs were happy with a little more shade.
North West garden problems.
My garden Is a northwest facing garden, which means we don’t get any winter sun. It’s rather tricky to plant vegetables in the sowing season when you don’t have the sunlight. We do get a little at the end of spring. Just not enough to keep fresh sproutlings happy. Ideally the professionals advice to have as much sunlight as you can and position your beds or planters south facing as much as possibly.
Unfortunately our house shelters our garden from any sun until its higher in the summer months. We do however get a ton of sun on our drive. It is like stepping out into a completely different climate zone. The front of the house is so much warmer and sunnier compared to the back. Such an opposite contrast.
Solution! – I know not ideal or aseptically pleasing for curb appeal but i’v decided to place my kitchen garden at the front of our house. We are very fortunate to have a lawn front garden as part of our drive, so I plan to pop the kitchen garden there. I know what your all thinking! Will the exhaust and cars pollute my homegrown grub? short answer is NO! I’v done my research and unless I’m parking up running the engine next to my fruits all day, every day there is no more effect than there would be in the back garden.
Another plan I have for my kitchen garden (and don’t quote me on this, as this will be a trial and error.) Is to grow my home grown food from pots and moveable planters. Why you maybe thinking? Well my fun idea is so my kitchen garden is portable. Call me crazy but I’m bringing new meaning to chasing the sun, and literally plan to move my pots of veg to the high peak sun spots as the seasons and sun moves. Getting the spring sun in the front and moving them round the back in the summer.
I don’t advice this as a genius thing to try at home, but it’s something I’m trialing out to get my produces the best chance of cropping. But what I will say is don’t be scared to try the non – norm. I always thought that a kitchen garden had to be placed in your garden out of sight. But really it should be placed where your veggies will thrive and grow. You maybe worried about curb appeal, but some veggies produce the best flowers and colours. With a little imagination you could make it look pretty. Normally I would grow things in any old pot. But as the kitchen garden is sitting on the front for all to see, I’m using Pots and planters that compliment each other in style, colour and theme.
Am I Using a Green House?
When I decided I was going to create a kitchen garden of course I went to Pinterest to grab Inspiration to plan how I would want it to look. Oh the green house of dreams if you have the space for one of those dwarf wall and glass creations. However, if like me you are stuck for space or just starting out and don’t want to splash the cash. Then there is plenty of mini ones on the market. Now I am not going to tell you, you need to buy a Green house. I’m sure a good window sill will work just fine if your only sowing a few things at a time. However, I don’t have enough windows for the amount I am wanting to grow.
There is a few small green houses on the markets, plastic, metal and wooden types all with a varied price point. I have gone for a wooden polycarbonate design which I purchased from the superstore Aldi. You can get similar ones from amazon or local garden centres. Again I purchased this particular green house as its portable so I can move it to any place my heart desires. It comes with three shelves so plenty of space for growing anything yummy.
Let’s get planting!
I have my green house and we’ve decided on the positioning of the kitchen garden. So what am I growing and what else do you need? As I said above you want to plant things that you will actually eat and enjoy but also plant things that are easy to grow to build your confidence. I am growing potatoes, beetroot, tomatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, lettuce, chillies and a bunch of herbs, thats just for starters.
I intend to grow sweet peas, peas, broccoli, spinach, spring onions, strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, raspberries, asparagus and beans. Yes very ambitious but I am giving it ago. All I can do is try and learn if I make any mistakes? Herbs, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, beans and peas are fairly easy to grow. So if your just starting out why don’t you try those first to lift your confidence while you get your head around growing edables.
So what do you need? Some veg and fruit can be seeded straight outside in containers you choose to grow from. Others need smaller trays or pots and to be kept indoors or a green house until they germinate and are ready to be placed outside or in larger pots. You will need a few seed trays or you can get creative and use old toilet roll holders or egg boxes. Even plastic fruit containers from the shop can do the trick, so you don’t have to rush out and buy starter kits. As I’m growing tomatoes, chillies and peppers I needed a propagator. Check the packets of your seeds they give a pretty good indication when and where your seeds need to be placed.
If you have felt inspired to start home growing, I’d love you to join in with me. We could do this together even. Or maybe your a seasonal grower and have some pointers for me. Either way I’d love you to get in touch and let me know.
Next on the list was identifying sticks. you could use lollipop sticks I guess. Just something you can write on telling you what it is you have planted. Lastly and most importantly is soil. Multi compost is what I used last year and I even brought some cutting compost. Now depending on opinion apparently you don’t need the latter. Good multi purpose soil is enough. However, I am still using cutting compost for the seedlings that like delicate soil. Again most packets of seeds will guide you into using the right soil for what you’re planting. Lastly at this stage your need a small spade or trawl. I am sure as my fruit and veg grow I will need more equipment. Supporting sticks to trellis for any tall growing vegetables. But for the time being I’m all set to go!
I feel like I shouldn’t sign this blog off, as its an active journey. One you can either follow here or on my Instagram account or Youtube. Where ever you prefer I’d love for you to subscribe and stick around. What ever my green fingers bring me its definitely an exciting adventure, with a lot to learn throughout the process.