Updated: Feb 6
Another year, another year to grow some amazing plants and hopefully a fair amount of food I can eat. I hope to grow some fruit and veg, which I will be keeping track off and a collection of stunning plants inside and outside to brighten up the garden. Gardening is a great hobby I would recommend with any eco conscious, wildlife conservative or green thumbed friends. Growing food is also a great sustainable hobby as it stops you taking more food, often with its unnecessary packaging and the food you grow is often more nutritious. It is a rewarding hobby with many benefits that anyone who wants to be truly sustainable should take up. I am trying to become more self-sufficient, which although I am a long way off the more I learn now the more capable I will be in the future, so stay tuned to follow my journey. Here is my growing experience this year:
Although I enjoyed everything I grew last year I wanted to grow things that would be more useful to me and my partner. As well as grow my knowledge and experience with a variety of different fruit and vegetables. This year I have tried to focus on increasing the sheer amount of food per calories than I have before, so here is my plan.
I planted these in early November 2020 but most the work (watering) on them has been in 2021. All I have done is let their leaves grow out and kept them watered. They have taken a bit of a beaten due to the hazardous weather but I am excited to see what they will become. The plan is to harvest them between June and August, depending on how their leaves are looking.
Last year I managed to get a great result, they tasted and smelt incredible, easily 10x better than shop brought. Additionally, I found them fairly easy to grow. This year I have filled the trough with a rough 50/50 mix of sand and compost, made a small line about an inch deep (if that) and careful placed a row of carrot seeds. Last year I put to many in each section making many of them bunch up and a lot of thinning out, however, this year I made sure not to make this mistake. I was a little worried at first, as they took an awful long time to sprout but at last, their green shoots emerged, making me very happy.
Tomatoes are such a versatile vegetable or fruit (I know it is debated) and can be used for salads, soups, sauces and sandwiches. Alongside this they are an easy to grow and a quick go to for anyone beginning to grow their own food. Additionally, they produce a great return on their growth and add a splash of colour to your garden. I have a large pot, which I filled with compost and planted my small cherry tomato plant in (In the centre below). As it got bigger all I had to make a rudimentary bamboo frame (I definitely need some work in this area) to keep up its support and waited for some tomatoes to fruit.
Potatoes are a staple in British meals and I couldn’t agree more from mash to jacket potatoes, there is always a use for these in our meals. Additionally, I am also aware how the potatoes offer one of the greatest returns, as well as having high calories for their weight, so I decided to grow 2 bushes. I had picked up a few grow bags, so all I had to do was plant a potato from my local super market, wait for it to start sprouting and placed it in a thick layer of soil at the bottom of a growbag. As it grew I unrolled the growbag and filled the soil to just under the leaves. I planted 2 and they created huge bushes that filled my garden turning it into what looked like a jungle.
I wanted another vegetable to grow to increase my knowledge, as well as my harvest this year. Therefore, we decided on courgettes. We picked yellow, simply because when we went to the garden centre the yellow version looked a lot healthier than the general variety. Once home I planted them in a large pot and gave it a good water. This again grew, creating amazing flowers, which turned into the many courgettes we harvested.
I have kept a small selection of herbs that I grow out each year, sometimes to add to our meals and sometimes to feed our rabbits. I don’t have to do much other than trim them back and get rid of the weeds. I keep them outside, occasionally give them a water and that’s all.
As part of my goal to go self-sufficient I have been looking for an easy plant that can give me a nice fruitful return each year with little effort. I read that these can grow for 15-20 years, coupled with the fact that these are considered a super food (super beneficial for you) I quickly picked one up. Throughout the year I began picking some handfuls for a gardeners snack.
I have continued my goal to grow some beautiful flowers to help the bees but also to give my small little yard a splash of colour. I am also trying to grow a number of plants that peak my interest, some that are already within my garden and others I hope to grow out for my future home. Here are just a few of them:
Abies Koreana ‘Kohout’s Ice Breaker’:
A new addition to my garden, I saw on my holiday and instantly thought it looked amazing, so I quickly scowered the internet and picked up two. I think they are such unique looking plants and I hope to create quite a feature of them in my new house.
Again as the year before I cut this back late winter and let it shoot grow upwards onto a little wired frame I webbed together onto the fence, which as you can see flower into its beautiful bouquet.
Acer (Japanese Maple):
I have always found these miniature trees incredibly beautiful and think they make a garden look exotic, ancient and colourful. Therefore, I have picked up two, one green I believe called emerald lace and another red. Both I got very cheap and hope will become a lot larger than their current few twigs for my future dream garden.
Monkey Puzzle Tree:
Me and my partner picked this up a fair few years ago as a tiny plant. We have grown it out into several pots up to the one it is in now. It is really now starting to get some size, so we might have to plant it into the ground soon but I hope it settle into it current pot before we move it into our next house.
These bushes came with the house and always manage to bloom covering in roses. Unfortunately, I saw a tremendous amount of aphids clustered around, which I am sure without due care and attending would have possibly ended both my rose bushes. My method to get rid of them is to fill a spray bottle with some water, put it on the single stream sharp mod and spray them off. If I do this for a couple of days it seems to get rid of them. I rarely do anything else but occasional give them a sprinkle of water and always get beautiful results.
I would certainly say that I learnt a lot this year. I am definitely the kind of person that learns more by actually doing than reading, although I do believe I have to do some things several times for those lessons to sink in (sorry to the plants I have killed), I am incredibly happy to start learning now. I have really focused on growing some food this year but also grown my collection of plants, which I am excited to embed into my future landscaping plans. I definitely need to get a bigger garden, which I will keep you updated with and all the food I grow. I will have another post about all the food I managed to harvest this year but let me know what your growing goals are this year.