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Growing your own fruit and veggies

This afternoon I thought I would plant some fruit bushes in the garden, a job that I was expecting would only take a couple of hours. In the end it took 6!!!

This whole area was just a stony patch of dry ground where some old chairs sat and my kids stacked up old toys and lots of footballs, after I cleared it and started digging, it turned out to be the most stone-filled, root-strewn, sandy and awful soil ever. So, I had no choice but to dig it all out. The whole patch is 7 feet by 7 feet, and I dug out the whole 7 feet by 7 feet to a depth of 9 inches, that’s 36 cubic feet, or exactly one whole cubic meter of stony soil (that’s about 1 ton of soil) dug out by hand, with one fork and one spade. That was a workout!

Then I laid the slabs on sharp sand down one side, the bricks down the other, then refilled with fresh top soil and mixed in lots of manure, compost and some ericaceous potting compost to encourage the acid-loving blueberry bushes to grow.

The actual planting up at the end only took half an hour, but the rest of the job worked out for bigger than I planned! I would not have got up at 6:30 and gone out for an hour’s hard sprint training this morning if I had known I was going to do 6 hours sweaty graft in the hot sun this afternoon! Whatever happened to Sunday being a day of rest!!

Still, the end result is very pleasing. IMG_2704

On the right, in the crumbling brick structure, is our fantastic and abundant strawberry bed, and you can see the purple tops of my salad chives too.

Freshly planted today, two blueberry bushes and 2 raspberry canes, and I’ll pick up 4 more raspberry canes this week and pop them in now there is plenty of space.

The compost bin at the back is doing much better now - two years ago I used to be all fruit and veg waste from the kitchen in it, but the garden, and eventually our house, was infested by those pesky little fruit flies, and I finally realised that we were basically breeding a fruit fly colony at the bottom of the garden…every time I lifted the lid, hundreds came out looking for food. So now, I only put garden waste and a little dry vegetable waste (like the greenery off a cauliflower) into this bin, and now it’s slower, but much better - no flies at all.

Growing my own produce is a slow learning curve for me. My life is insanely busy and if I had an allotment I just know I’d never find the time to go and deal with it. But growing my own food in my own garden…it’s close enough that I DO find the time, and although you have to free up the odd Sunday afternoon to get things set up, I am actually finding that once it’s all in place, maintenance is dead simple. My spinach is now saving me approx. £5 pounds per week. I planted two ‘trays’ of spinach seedlings, cost £6 pounds, and they are saving me a fiver per week, producing almost more spinach than I can eat every day.

It delights me to take food from soil to belly in 20 minutes, fresh and alive, organic, local, seasonal and nourishing.

I am now growing:

  • Strawberries IMG_2670
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Framberries (cross breed)
  • Spinach
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Rainbow chard
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mint
  • Camomile
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Coriander

Get growing!

It saves you money, you get the best organic produce, you can’t get fresher food, it gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine and it’s great exercise!

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