Diary musings of a greenie gardener. It’s my third season of gardening and it’s all about keeping those seedlings alive. One step at a time...
If I were critical and tried to establish how long I’ve gardened, then I would say that this is my third season (or year). And if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt, then it’s that it takes time to learn how to garden. One step at a time.
THE FIRST YEAR
In my first year it was very much about figuring the garden out. We’d just moved to a new property with a very established garden as well as a Tudor (kitchen) garden that we had to take care of.
Since we moved there just before spring, I spent that following season identifying the flora that was already there and finding out how to take care of them. The garden had a lot of hidden bulbs in the garden beds and plant pots, so I was glad that I waited to plant anything.
It was my aim to keep the flora already there, alive and hopefully to make them thrive. My father bought me a raised plant trough and we bought two growing bags. So we did still try to grow a few vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots. But in a way that didn’t disturb the flora already there.
I am not quite sure how it happened but despite not paying much attention to those, they absolutely thrived. Except for the carrots, those were still quite small. I think that may have been caused by the fact that we didn’t thin the seedlings (of any of those vegetables) out.
At that time thinning out seedlings was still quite a new concept to me and felt a bit of a waste. Why throw out perfectly good seedlings? Now, I know that too many seedlings mean too much competition and a less successful harvest overall.
Because we unexpectedly had such a good yield, I feel like we didn’t fully utilise and enjoy that harvest. We didn’t know what to do with the abundance. Which is a pity because things completely changed a year later…
THE SECOND YEAR
A year later, in the same plant trough, the vegetables and herbs struggled to grow. The battle with slugs and flies was real and I eventually gave up on growing anything in that trough.
I did build an extra raised plant trough and that, as well as the two growing bags, was used to grow potatoes for the very first time. If you want to create some extra growing space for yourself, I posted a very detailed tutorial for that raised plant trough here. And I tell you guys… those potatoes were my pride and joy that season! How easy and how fun it is to grow potatoes!
That same season I tried to grow garlic but made the rookie error to plant it at the wrong time (like way too late). As I said, I also tried to grow multiple herbs but only the parsley really thrived. That same parsley is now in its’ last season and next year I’ll have to grow some new parsley!
This year is going to be a bit strange because as some of you know we had to leave the lovely cottage with its garden and Tudor (kitchen) garden. If you have no idea why we had to leave quite suddenly, I discuss it in this blog post. My latest personal update is to be found here.
We have no exact idea when we will be able to buy a house. It could be in two months but you never know, it could also take 6 months! I wouldn’t want to grow a lot of things in my parents in law’s garden and then having to leave it behind. So I decided to curb in my enthusiasm for this season and to pick only a few things to grow in moveable pots and containers. I am able to use my father in laws greenhouses which is going to be great for growing tomatoes.
I am currently growing tomato plants and chamomile and I’ve recently put a few of my basil seedling outside in the greenhouse. I tried to grow mint seedlings but they were very leggy and after some research I realised that it may be easier to propagate mint by using cuttings from a more established plant. So that’s something I might have a go at in the coming month.
The tomato plants are growing slow but well. The chamomile seeds haven’t done very well since there are only three seedlings. So I may have to try growing them again.
I suspect some of the seeds may have washed away since I watered them a bit roughly at the beginning. If you don’t have a spray bottle or watering can at hand, try drilling some holes in the lid of a large plastic drink bottle, it works very well!
The basil seedlings seem to struggle a bit. I maybe should have hardened them off a bit since the weather has been quite bad. Hardening off friends is again one of those things that I still need to get to grips with!
I have some lettuce, kale, and perpetual spinach seeds waiting to be used. Other than that, I have planted some garlic and shallots a few months ago. I can’t wait to see how they’ve turned out!
As you can see, I am keeping it very simple thus far and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of success yet. I am starting to get better at growing seedlings but still struggle with that next step that leads to them becoming established plants! But like I said… one step at a time.
What are you growing this year? Are there any new exciting things you’re having a go at this year? If you have any tips, they are very welcome!