Part of the reason I started my blog was to meet like minded people. Share tips and advice and meet some gardening friends as I don’t know anyone (other than my grandparents) that are really interested in growing.

My boyfriend has always supported my hobby as he loves the idea of fresh healthy food. But something about the thought of having our own little garden in the near future has inspired him deeper into the growing world. He has decided to be the potato grower of our family.

First steps

We took a trip to the garden centre a few weeks ago and whilst there we had a look around the seed potatoes that were available.  His favourite that we’d seen a few weeks earlier were gone. From the little knowledge I had on seed potatoes we selected 6 second early (planted a little later than first early and before main crop) potatoes that were slug and disease resistant and good for all kinds of cooking (according to the label anyway).

We also purchased a purpose built potato growing bag like this one. It’ll have pride of place on our new patio, and once we’ve moved house next week it will be almost time to plant them out I think.

Currently the seed potatoes are sat in an egg box in the bedroom windowsill, happily chitting away. The gentlemen in the garden centre said the sprouts needed to be a few inches long but they don’t seem to have made much progress since we brought them (as you can see from the picture).

We are both very excited for our own harvest of potatoes this summer! I promise to share with you all any success/failure that we have.

Help us!

Growing potatoes is a first for both of us and although I have researched online nothing beats a bit of first hand experience so if anyone has any advice/tips please share as we’d both appreciate the help!

 

Im a little late with my garden planning this year. January was a pretty horrendous month workwise but, I’ve made it out the other side and February just disappeared!

The big problem is I don’t know where to start with my garden planning this year. Me and my partner have purchased our first house and should be moving in two weeks time.  We’re purchasing a new build property so I haven’t been able to measure and plan the garden. I have a rough idea of how I want it to look but it’ll take time and money to get it that way.

So my plan of action it is to assume things will have to stay at my parents or in my large pots on the patio area that comes with our new home.

Grow what you eat

My first step as always is to make a list of things we eat regularly, I will then eliminate things I don’t have room for/climate for and finally add one or two things I’d like to try. This leaves me with a list that looks like this:

  1. Tomato
  2. Cucumber
  3. Spinach
  4. Peppers
  5. Onions
  6. Carrots
  7. Beetroot
  8. Peas
  9. Runner beans
  10. Parsnips
  11. Leeks
  12. Spring onions
  13. Salad leaves
  14. Strawberries
  15. Courgettes – newbie
  16. Sweet corn – newbie
  17.  Blueberries – newbie

There are tons of things I’d love to try but limiting it to a few a year means I don’t get overwhelmed and fail.

Usually I’d draw out my area and decided where things will go but this year I’m just going to start things off and look at my situation when they need to go outdoors.

Timing is everything

I’ve made a list of all my items on a timeline showing when seeds need to be sowed inside, outdoors and when they can be planted out.

As far as possible I will be following the square foot planting method as I did last year. I really enjoyed the organisation and the knowledge of exactly which plant was where.

As i’m behind in the planning i’m also behind in the sowing but I don’t think it’s too much of a problem this year. The weather has been awfully peculiar (it was trying to snow here last week!) and it wouldn’t hurt to make sure we’re past any danger of frost and snow that could damage small seedlings.

I will start some sowing seeds this coming weekend if it kills me! What has everyone planted so far?

Last month I attended my first ever seed swap, Hereford seed swap to be precise.

Having never attended an event like this I was a little apprehensive as to how they worked. Luckily my right hand man accompanied me (and held my bag while I browsed seeds!).

It was pouring with rain on the day and the car park was full so we parked a little way away and ran to The Courtyard where the event was taking place.

The Swap

Upon entering we were greeted with a few small stalls selling gardening related items. In the centre of the room was a small round table with instructions on taking part in the seed swap and a donation bucket (did I mention the event is volunteer and donation driven?).

After reading the instructions carefully we proceeded towards the ring of tables where the seeds were. The first item on the agenda is to give any seeds you have to go into the swap to one of the attendants behind the tables. They will then distribute them to the correct areas with other similar seeds.

I think the main idea is for gardeners to swap and share seeds they have grown and collected themselves and try growing something a little new but, I’m afraid I’ve not mastered seed saving (or even tried yet to be honest!) so I took a few seed packets from my collection that I wouldn’t be growing this year.

The friendly gentleman behind the tables thanked me and told me to help myself to anything I liked. The tables were filled with little brown and newspaper packets holding everything from salad leaves to flowers.

I had made a list beforehand of things I wanted to try to get:

  1. Sweetcorn
  2. Peppers
  3. Parsnips

The first stop on my list was a large bag labelled sweetcorn. There were small empty brown envelopes for you to help yourselves to as many seeds as you required from the bigger bags. So I labelled mine up and took a handful of seeds.

As I moved round I spotted a packet of kale seeds that I quickly snapped up. The final additions to my seed haul were a small pack of parsnips and chillies. The only item on my list I didn’t get were peppers.

Unexpected perks

I don’t know why but I wasn’t expecting there to be anything other than the seed swap itself  however, whilst I was browsing a group of people at the end of the room began to sing, it really was a beautiful atmosphere.

There were several stalls with tools and plants and even a few information stalls. One stall was a tool sharpening man, if only I’d known he’d have been there!  I sure hope he’s there next year!

I have added seed saving to my list of gardening goals this year and look forward to next years seed swap event. I encourage anyone that has access to something like this to get involved.

Has anyone else attended an event like this? I’d love to hear your stories.