I’m no Monty Don, but since my weight made me housebound, I started gardening. My Dad would be so proud of me. He would be shocked to find I actually love gardening as when he was bursting with pride over his Big Boy tomatoes, I feigned a “that’s nice” look and took to the nearest exit. Sorry, Dad. I don’t have the same green fingers as my grandmother possessed, but I can grow beetroots, and they’re big beautiful beetroots!
Gardening Pests Goodbye
We don’t have an allotment nor any grass (apart from the dogs’ small area). We have six “Veg Trugs” from a local company that we have had for several years. In March the gardening begins, and we start to prepare the compost. Firstly we try and rid as many ants as we can using food grade dichromatic earth. It’s a naturally occurring organic compound which is safe for humans and pets. If you use it on your plants (scatter under the leaves around the base) it will keep slugs and snails at bay too.
Do what works
Once we have got rid of pests, it’s on to preparing the compost. We don’t do things by the book; we do what works. So I’m not going to go all techy on you about crop rotation, and suchlike so excuse me if this doesn’t sound right, if we do it and it works, that’s all that matters. If it’s old compost that we’ve already used, we turn it over with a fork and pour over a diluted solution seaweed extract. Out of the six trugs, half have been in use and produced three years running without fail.
We generally cultivate each year;
- Pears (Strawberries (Elsanta or Cambridge Favourite)
- Blueberries (Sunshine Blue)
- Figs (Brown Turkey and Brunswick)
- Sugar Snap Peas (Jess)
- Regular Peas (Kelvedon Wonder)
- Beetroot (Detroit)
- Spring Onions (White Lisbon)
We also have an olive tree but living on the East Coast of England; it’s not the right climate to fruit. That’s quite a freezer full at the end of Summer. You’ll soon get fed up with me and my jam recipes.
The trees stay as they are in huge pots apart from the Pear (Gieser Wildeman) which has pride of place in the ground. It’s now ten years old and is incredibly generous at what it provides. There’s enough to fill our freezer, make loads of jam and give the local Salvation Army kitchen (our SA houses the food bank which we’re regular donators of) a truckload.
Peat-Free Organic Compost Please
Now onto the subject of compost. The reasons we use it and not peat; greenhouse gases. Some might say it’s renewable, and they’re correct. But the amount of carbon it emits into the atmosphere outweighs what it gives us. I’d prefer to give it a wide berth. We use organic compost instead.
We do try to produce our own. To accomplish this, we have our own composter. The Tumbleweed Composter was slightly expensive to buy, but it gives us full control of what we make. I’ll do a detailed post on that at a later date including the whys and wherefores of what you can and can’t compost. This year as we didn’t have quite enough compost meant we had to buy some. It took me quite a while to find one that satisfied me, and thankfully I spotted it when B&Q had a special offer. New Horizon manufactures an Organic and Peat Free multi-purpose compost. I managed to acquire 16, 50-litre bags much to Andy’s dismay (he had to pick them up).
Feet up, fruit out
We’re now sitting in the garden waiting for the majority of the plants to either fruit or bloom and have in the last hour devoured a bowl and a half of the finest Bockings Elm grown strawberries known to man. That’s our routine now.
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