Making the Most of Self-Isolation
In part 5 of our ‘Making the Most of Self-Isolation’ series, marketing executive Gill tells us how to get started with growing your own vegetables at home.
#5: Grow Your Own Vegetables
Early last year I decided to try to grow my own vegetables. So, armed with zero knowledge but lots of enthusiasm, I spent the long Easter weekend digging a vegetable patch in a disused corner of the garden.
I’d heard that a good place to start was growing potatoes, as they are easy to grow and they are good for the soil. I bought a cheap bag of seed potatoes from my local garden centre and planted them, following the instructions on the label.
Whilst at the garden centre, I also picked up some small courgette plants and some broad beans (inspired by my auntie, otherwise known as Jeanie Beanie). When the courgette plants got a little bigger, I transferred these into larger tubs, rather than planting them into the ground. Courgettes are perfect if you don’t have a big garden as they will happily grow in tubs. After starting the broad beans off in my mum’s greenhouse, I transplanted them outside alongside the potatoes. Don’t worry if you don’t have a green house, broad beans are fine to be planted straight outside as long as you wait until the mornings aren’t frosty.
My first year’s growing results were mixed! Whilst I had an abundance of potatoes (see photo below) and a good number of broad beans, I only managed to grow three very small courgettes on two plants! Carrots and beetroots that I planted later in the year did very little also, probably because I planted them too late. But I wasn’t put off, and I decided to be more ambitious with my growing in 2020.
This year I have more of a plan, so hopefully I will be able to get all my seedlings in the ground at the right time.
Whilst it is early in the season, lots of seedlings are appearing already as you can see from the picture below. Once these sprout, broccoli, broad bean and leek seedlings are big enough, they will be replanted outside, along with parsnips, carrots, beetroot, spring onions and lettuce. I may even have another go at growing courgettes in tubs.
Getting Started During Self-Isolation
Whilst we can’t just pop out to our local garden centre at the moment, many garden centres are offering delivery for online orders. Some supermarkets also sell vegetable seeds at this time of year, so have a quick look next time you do your shopping.
Most seed packets have simple instructions on how/when to grow your chosen vegetables, but if you’re not sure, there is plenty of information available online.
If you don’t have a big garden, or you live in a rented property where you can’t make many changes to the garden, you can still grow your own vegetables. Many plants, such as chillies, radishes and baby spinach will happily grow on a warm windowsill. If you have some big tubs, you could also grow things like beetroots, carrots and peas right outside your back door. You can find a great list of plants that will grow in containers on the RHS website here.
Growing vegetables is great for kids too, they’ll love watching them grow and especially eating them when they are ready. It’s a great way to help children understand where their food comes from and for getting fussy eaters interested in vegetables.
So, why not use the lock-down to try growing your own veg? It’s easier than you think!