Gardening Adventure – Gardening Beginner!

Gardening Adventure – Gardening Beginner!

My beginner’s garden is still very much that. I still don’t seem to know what I am doing but I think it’s coming together. Though I do know that I am not dedicating enough time to it. Still, I spent a sunny day back in April (that seems a loooong time ago) planting up my onion sets and getting some broad bean plug plants in. I think I must have a reputation for ‘playing’ at gardening still, so the onions were leftovers from my mum and grandparents – all 63 of them. My garden is far too small for that – however, I planted them all in anything I could find that would be deep enough! I’ve got Golden Gourmet shallots, Stuttgarter Riesen and a heritage seed from my granddad (all I know is that they are from his personal seed stock, Cornish in origin and taste fantastic!)

Gardening adventure - gardening beginner!

Shallots

A week ago this rogue potato plant decided to poke its head above the soil. That just goes to show how badly I turned the soil then.

Gardening adventure - gardening beginner!

Rogue spuds

Luckily for me I did a DIY soil test and found that my soil is neither too full of clay nor sand. So I didn’t need to worry about preparing the soil further. I did have the wherewithal to weed and turn my soil a week or so before I planted my onions and broad beans out. I also added a layer of Granddad’s compost (my own compost heap is very much on the to do list!) and some pungent chicken manure! It wasn’t long before the onions started shooting towards the sky! My broad beans are already flowering and the plants smell incredible. I am such a seasonal eater and always get cravings for broad beans in August – this year the plan is to eat some I’ve actually grown myself. Hurrah!

Gardening adventure - gardening beginner!

I will eat my own broad beans this year!

The list of jobs I have to do is endless – from mowing the overgrown lawn (or, wildflower meadow as I like to call it) to getting more flowers in the garden to encourage the bees and butterflies. But it’s a start.

Elizabeth Dyer
Elizabeth is one of the Woolly Gardeners at Woolly Green. She recently moved out of London back to her roots in Devon because she loves sheep and to be nearer her family and friends. She knows she sounds like a Miss World contestant, but she really wants to leave things a bit better than she finds them :-)

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden

Why grow veg? For me it’s ultimately about cooking, with the added incentive of being in nature in a way that I find enjoyable. It’s also better value, seasonal, greener and gives me a feeling of history, past and legacy. It’s about that sudden craving for dark spring greens during March or a taste for swede once the clocks have gone back.

Besides, growing veg should be easy. Sunshine – check! Well, whatever my little corner of Britain gives me. Soil – check! I have plenty of that in the little plot measuring 8ft by 4ft that I’ve set aside for growing my very own. I don’t think that it’s clay-ey but it is quite stone-y.

With that in mind there are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

Slugs – Ugh, yuk! This last year was a great year for slugs but less so for the poor lettuces! I’ve heard that broken up eggshells are a great way to get rid of slugs, as “they are torn to shreds and killed”. Hmm. That sounds unpleasant.

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden - Picture source JaimeW

Slugs – yuk

Weeds – the best way to begin a veg plot is to have a blank canvas so to speak. A weed free start. I don’t really want to go down the chemical route, so lifting them – root in tact – is my option. Granted, this is time consuming but you don’t want your beautiful and idyllic veg plot being consumed by weeds.

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden

Weeding…the first job

Cheating – am I cheating by growing from plants or sets? No. My motivation is not the process – yet – so I’ll be happy getting produce from anything I’ve nurtured. I’m sure Michelle Obama doesn’t do everything from scratch herself – and we’re both busy ladies!  No I’ll begin by using plants started by someone much more proficient. This includes friends and relations as well as a good trawl around to see what’s available elsewhere….

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden - Picture source USDAgov (public domain)

Michelle Obama gardening

So what is my planting project? Garlic, Blueberries, Spring Cabbages, Onions. All seasonal and do-able in my smallish garden. It is far from an allotment but I am lucky enough to have a garden with raised beds as my garden is two level (oooh get me!). The flower (or in my case, vegetable) bed splits the unruly lawn and unkempt compost heap away from the leaf-strewn patio and tired looking garden shed!

A Beginners Guide to Growing a Veg Garden - Picture source Pain Chaud

Onion sets

First job? Weeding…

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Elizabeth Dyer
Elizabeth is one of the Woolly Gardeners at Woolly Green. She recently moved out of London back to her roots in Devon because she loves sheep and to be nearer her family and friends. She knows she sounds like a Miss World contestant, but she really wants to leave things a bit better than she finds them :-)

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