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My veggie garden attempts: April 2013

Posted on: 24th April 2013

Posted in: Home Grown

I like to think of myself as an aspiring gardener of things homegrown. This is my second year attempt of growing some of my own veggies. Last year my husband laboured over making 2 long raised beds out of treated planks of wood and galvanised nails (we looked on youtube for a tutorial!)

We did not have much success last year. We planted loads of onion sets – which didn’t grow much but were perfectly edible. We planted courgettes in seed trays indoors, which when transplanted to pots all died (probably due to root disturbance). We planted carrots, lettuces and peppers in the mini greenhouse, which all died as soon as they were moved outside (I had no idea about the need for slug pellets!) I was very thankful of my dad, who is an experienced gardener and came to my rescue with some tomato plants (which later died of blight), an established courgette seedling, and a tupperware full of slug pellets  My dad is fab – in fact if you gave him half a leaf from any tree in the UK (or Europe I imagine), he would be able to identify it. We also bought several established lettuce seedlings from the school summer fete for 10p, which I planted the next day surrounded by slug pellets  The first day of transplanted lettuces and courgette plant brought an influx of around 30 slugs – all dead with slime everywhere. This carried on for several days.

So, last year (2012), I managed to successfully harvest about 10 lettuces and 5 courgettes (several courgettes went rotten after some wet weather, and some of my lettuces shriveled up in the hot weather!) So, here are the lessons learnt from last year, which will be put into practice this year:

  • 12 or so courgette seeds were planted this week and I will choose the most healthy 2 seedlings to transplant into the raised beds. Courgette plants have massive roots so you need to have a lot of space to plant these. They don’t like root disturbance, so I planted my seeds in individual peat pots. These are little pots that can be filled with compost and the whole pot put in the grown – no need to remove the seedling and disturb the roots. I love courgettes – they are so versatile. I use them as a side veggie lightly pan fried in a smidge of olive oil, in bolognaise-type sauces or in ratatouille.
  • I will be planting lots of lettuces as they are very easy to grow (providing you have plenty of slug pellets (eco-friendly ones of course!) and water them frequently especially when it’s hot). I will plant my lettuce seeds this weekend
  • I am trying spinach this year – another very versatile vegetable and a good source of iron and folate. I am hoping they are as easy to grow as lettuce. I planted 2 seeds in each little peat pot to make transplantation to the outside raised beds easier
  • I will be planting carrots soon – again, hoping for success with the use of slug pellets

My soon-to-be-four-year-old was very helpful this weekend filling the peat pots with compost and planting the courgette and spinach seeds. It’s a fab activity to do with the children and a great way to teach them where veggies come from.

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