I spent a couple of happy hours putting up my sweet pea and bean supports. They are either side of the coldframe so that later in the season when the supports are covered, they will filter the sun that reaches the coldframe so that I can plant my courgettes there. With our light sandy soil I find the courgettes appreciate the additional humidity (I do remove the coldframe lid during the summer).
I’m being determinedly optimistic and telling myself that this cold easterly wind will swing round before long and the shivering days will be over replaced by the ‘I’ve been gardening in my t-shirt’ days. In the meantime I’ve been bringing plants on in my Grow Light Garden and the dwarf French beans that will move to the greenhouse once the weather obliges, are looking fantastically healthy. I sowed them in GroChar seed compost which I keep much drier than conventional compost and they seem really happy. At this rate they will be cropping before they make it as far as the greenhouse.
Yesterday I was listening to James Wong (@Botanygeek) on Five Live talking through the merits of growing your own fruit and vegetables. For those of you that missed it James was questioning why we are still growing the same basic fruit and veg on our allotments that we grew in 1940. It was his suggestion that buying all the kit to grow your own basics might end up costing you more than buying the actual veg from your local supermarket. I thought I’d do some digging to see if anyone had actually worked this out. Gold medal for accuracy goes to Tiger Sheds who have created this infographic breaking down all the costs. Pleasingly it’s still cheaper, healthier and more rewarding to grow your own !
Now, what James went on to say has merit, his suggestion is to look further than the basics that are widely available. Instead look to grow more expensive options like saffron. Not only does this autumn flowering bulb look great but it produces a harvest which is more valuable in weight than gold. On top of this it will continue to deliver the world’s most expensive spice every Autumn for the next 15 years. You can’t argue with the logic. Naturally you’ll need to buy his new book ’Homegrown Revolution’ for further inspiration and tips. I might even order a copy myself.
© Daniel Carruthers
In an effort to stop the courgettes taking over the entire raised bed I planted them in a polycarbonate coldframe with the lids removed. This protected them early on and has now had the beneficial effect of encouraging them to grow upwards rather than sprawl everywhere. I’ll definitely do it again.
B&Q Tower garden
Apparently B&Q make it easy to grow your own
Here’s an interesting contrast. I was really impressed by the quality of the planting in the B&Q garden at Chelsea where the ‘Tower Block’ had balconies dripping with wonderful edible plants. Contrast my visit to the local B&Q two weeks ago when the Grow Your Own display was just one of several featuring dead, dying and neglected plants. There is no point in B&Q promoting themselves as ‘green’ when the plants grown by their suppliers are left to die. Think of all the time, energy and water needed to grow those plants and transport them to B&Q. What a waste.