A few years ago my friend and I embarked on growing our own fruit and vegetables. We had our husbands build raised beds, we bought our favourite seeds and just watched and waited!! One thing is for certain when you do something new, you learn!! (a lot). Reading a book is one thing but real life practice is certainly another. As a look back on my veg plot experiences I can remember the failure of trying to grow leeks, they barely made it into a spring onion before being devoured by the slugs. Carrots weren’t much better either. I think I grew the grand total of 5 and they were tiny. But what I do remember is the feeling of pulling them out of the ground. It was wonderful and I would plant them again just for that feeling. I did have huge success with courgettes put they are an enormous plant. You would need at least a metre square patch of ground to allow for decent growth. My other word of advice would be to have plenty of courgette recipes at the ready. I find in most recipes you only need one or two courgettes. One recipe that does lend itself of course is ratatouille.
In the next few months we will be moving house. The back garden is only small but I intend to make it an edible garden. There will be strawberries, herbs, potatoes, blackcurrant bushes, peas, beans, pumpkins, salad leaves, courgettes(if I have room), maybe an apple tree along with carrots if I dare. I want the garden to have a real purpose plus my children adore planting seeds and watching them grow. Teaching them to love and appreciate how our food grows is very important to me and maybe one day they will be adventurous enough to try them all too!
Last year we planted pumpkins for the first time. It was so exciting to watch the plant grow from such a tiny seed. Out of the 4 or 5 seeds we planted we only harvested one pumpkin. We still have ‘him’ and my boy won’t let me cut it up so there ‘he’ sits on his bedroom window ledge. It is only small but perfectly formed. We have planted some more this year too and so far they are looking good. I don’t own a green house but the back of our garage is south facing and there is a window which is a perfect place to grow new seedlings. As yet it has been too cold to plant them outside and as the saying goes, ‘Never cast a clout, till May is out’, which roughly translated means still expect a frost even until the end of May. With this in mind keep tender plants indoors until the beginning of June. If in doubt follow the guidelines on the back of the seed packet.
In time I will share my photos of the other seeds I have planted this year. I haven’t been very adventurous with my planting as I need plants that can be easily potted on into large, transportable pots. Plants that grow upwards are idea for this and so to my little pea plants. I think you will agree they look gorgeous!!
This photo was taken after a couple of weeks growth. Simply buy a packet of peas which you can find in most supermarkets. There is usually a stand with both vegetable and flower seeds on it. It will cost you about £1.25 for a packet of peas and inside you will find around 30 peas. My packets last me a year or two. You will then need a small pot with holes in the bottom. If you don’t have a seed flower pot then simply use a plastic container, such as an old margarine tub and pierce some holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the container with some compost (this can again be bought at large supermarkets or garden centres) I would advise buying a decent make other wise the compost can contain seed from weeds which will then transfer to your garden. I made this mistake last year and now I have a patch of earth full of horrible weeds!!
Next place a hole in the soil with your finger up to your knuckle, then pop a pea in and gently cover them over and press down a little to compact the soil. Repeat this process around 3-4 times depending on how big your container is. Sprinkle with water and leave in a warm spot, maybe a window ledge or outside in a sheltered spot. You can also plant them straight into a border or raised bed.
They will grow very quickly and once they are about 15-20cm high you will need to pot them on to a bigger pot or into the ground. Either way when they get to this height they will need to be supported with a cane or a stick. If you plant 3 or more plants together you can create a wig wam effect with the canes. They shouldn’t need tying on as they have their own little tendrils which grab on to the cane.
These are absolutely the easiest thing to grow in the garden either as a beginner or with the children. I hope you enjoy planting your peas and I would love to hear any of your gardening stories.
Thanks for reading. L x