You've got to get the plot to Grow Your Own!

THE BARD By THE BARD, 26th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Planting & Growing

Compare the taste, compare the price. Grow Your Own. No contest.

I had my orders.

It was a nice sunny afternoon last July; I was out on the patio relaxing in my favourite layback chair when the voice from her indoors alerts me into full consciousness with her orders. “We are having salad this evening for tea, will you get some new potatoes, a lettuce, spring onions, radishes, a couple of beetroot and a few tomatoes and I’ll leave it to you whether we have strawberries or raspberries for a sweet, I have a tub of cream in the fridge”
Now for most chaps that’s a right old load of orders to gather up in his head and go down to the local supermarket and wade through the shelves and gather up her order.
Not for me though because I’d got it all at the top of my garden and it wasn’t delivered there from far a field, it was grown there by me, so not all my time is spent in the lazy chair.

Finding the plot!

I move on to the ever increasing prices of fresh fruit and vegetables and it is my opinion it is going to increase to an unaffordable degree to a lot of lower income people.
The answer for many people is to obtain an allotment plot and grow their own.
Even that line of approach has become more and more difficult due to the fact that most of the Council owned plots have been taken up and there are long waiting lists.
In fact I read that one such Council had a waiting list which taking into account the number of those giving up their plots for various reasons and those wanting a plot means that putting your name down during this current trend you would wait 90 years for a plot.
Councils claim there is a shortage of suitable land to turn into allotment plots in and around our Towns and cities. If land does become available it is snapped up for much more financial rewards like housing and commercial building projects.
Now it’s not for me a long retired old boy to argue with all these big financial whiz kids and boffins that there is no spare land to grow a bit of fruit and veg for those not so well breached in the wallet.
On the subject of no spare land for growing a bit of veg then boy I’m up for the argument.
There are acres of it in and around our village’s towns and cities, yes hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres doing nothing only growing grass.
Unless you are keeping livestock like cows, sheep or goats in your back garden then that’s where it is. In peoples back gardens.
Yes it’s nice to have a bit of lawn and a few flowers out the back to enjoy, but all of it grass so you can go whizzing up and down with your mower only to throw the growth product away. Not for me that game of wasted effort for nowt on your plate.
For the whole of my 46years of my married life all 5 houses I have lived in have had fairly long gardens approximately 20mtrs x 8mtrs and were all laid to grass with flower borders until I took over.
Each time I cut the lawn area down by half and put up a dividing trellis mid way. The top half of the garden I put up a tool shed and a greenhouse, dug up that part laid to lawn and turned it into a fruit and veg plot.

The produce from the plot.

My current plot at the top of the garden measures approximately 10mts x 8mtrs.
Let me tell you what I grow on that small plot to keep my wife and I supplied with fresh fruit and veg from June to the end of October.

Root crops.
Early and Second Early Potatoes.
Home guard, Aran Pilot and Charlot.
You need to be buying seed potatoes in February and put them in trays eyes up, cover them with news paper to let them chit. I set my first lot out 2nd week in March then I set 3 more lots out 3 weeks apart, the final lot being the Charlot. That way I’m digging new potatoes from the first week in July right through to the end of August depending on the seasonal weather. Freshly dug and straight in the pot with a couple of sprigs of mint from an old bucket where I grow it, you will not taste better, believe me.

Carrots, Beetroot and Parsnips.

Salad plants..
Lettuces. Webs Wonder, Little gem and Iceberg, Staggered planting throughout the season.
Spring onions and Radishes,

Rhubarb variety
3 Corms of Raspberry Red
3 Corms of Champagne. Give them a good covering of well rotted horse manure at the end of November. I give mine a general purpose liquid feed twice during the summer and keep them well watered, that way I get Rhubarb from May to October. Good for freezing.

Gooseberry bushes.
1 Whinham’s Industry--- Dark Red fruit.
3 Leveller----Yellow Green fruit. Need spray protecting against Mildew. Good for freezing. About 2- 3 kilos per bush.

Raspberry canes.
6 Malling Minerva --- Early variety, mid June mid July cropping,
6 Glen Fyne ----Mid season variety, mid July to mid August cropping.
6 Brice-----Mid August, late September crops. Good for freezing.

Strawberry plants
15 Early---Cambridge Favourite. An old favourite for many growers.
15 mid Early.---Malling Opal. A good cropper throughout the season.

3 Blueberry bushes.
I have planted these next to my border trellis, they not only produce a good crop of fruit they are ornamental, i.e. Masses of white flowers in spring fruit in the summer and in the autumn the leaves turn a beautiful bronze/red. What more could you ask from a bush.

Tomatoes are always worth growing for their flavour.

6 plants outdoors Gardeners Delight ( very sweet and tasty)
6 plants outdoors Italian variety, Costoluto Fiorentino, big and tasty nice cut in half and grilled. Any not required for immediate use I give to my neighbours, the rest I make into soup and freeze.

My favourite veg. Look after them and they will reward you.

Now for my speciality,
Runner beans.
18— plants Enorma
18---plants Scarlet Emperor.
10--- plants Climbing French bean-- "Cobra". Every flower ends up a bean tender and tasty with this variety..
The good thing about the Runner bean is they don’t take up much ground space to grow. All the action is upwards and you don’t have to bend down to pick them, I like it!! Although the way I grow them I need a step ladder.( Keep reading)!!
Runner beans, you either love em or loathe em. I suspect those people who loathe them have had a mouthful of tough stringy ones and had to spit them out.
No stringy ones when I pick them. Place the fore and index fingers behind calyx at the top of the bean, then push through with the thumb, if it snaps cleanly it’s yours for the Pot if not it’s on the floor to Rot.
I set out 2 rows up canes grown from seed in pots 18 plants and I transplant them out during the last week in May (providing the weather is favourable) they won’t stand even a mild frost, could finish them off at worst or set them back on growth at best.
I set out another 18 plants from pots to grow up canes in late June.
That way given favourable weather I will be picking beans from mid July until the end of October. My neighbours get plenty as well as me and some get put in the freezer although they are not as good as the fresh ones.
I give mine a liquid feed every 7-10 days and give them a good watering every other day in mid summer, even if there is rain as I find the foliage acts as a shield preventing the rain getting to the roots. Fine water pray the foliage regularly they love it. They don’t like cold spells, wind and drying out at the roots, any of that and you will have what I call the “Red Carpet”. Flowers not set fallen to the floor!!.

The Greenhouse.

In the Greenhouse 8feet x 6feet. .
A Black Hamburg Grape vine which produces around 30 to 40 fine bunches of sweet juicy black grapes every year. Roots outside in it’s own bed.
You would need to read up before attempting to grow these.
Establishing and training the growth, pruning, thining the bunches to get large quality fruit.

The greenhouse also.

3 Mellon plants.
This year I’m trying Siennne F1, grown up a 1mtr high wired frame for support. (Last year I grew Sweetheart F1)

The last couple of years I have had poor results but I will carry on because previous years have yielded about 20 excellent flavoured juicy fruits.
When you enter the greenhouse and one is ripe there is that special aroma from it. Smell out which one it is, pick and eat it. Believe me you don’t buy them off the supermarket shelf vine ripened and as juicy with this flavour.
They are a bit tricky to grow and need hand pollinating male to female flowers.
You have to be on the ball so to speak to catch the Female flowers just at the right time on a sunny day to get them pollinated. I use a fine camel hair artist’s paint brush, but if you can entice the bees into the greenhouse they are the boy’s for the job. I manage to entice them in with 2 pots of Lavender plants, bees are attracted to blue flowers. I place one at the greenhouse entrance the other inside on the Melon bed and hope they get busy on the Mellon flowers.

Bragging to my mate. He grows beans.

Now you don’t get something for nothing when it comes to gardening so you need to acquire knowledge, experience over the years and be prepared for failure due weather conditions, pests, diseases and you going on your hols and leaving everything to chance. You will need a good neighbour to take care of the watering etc. Yes he’s the one you look after with the hand outs of your produce.

You need to have a good compost box to dig the rotted contents back into your soil each year.
And you need to add a good general purpose fertilizer to your soil every year.
If you are just starting out at growing your own, buy a book on gardening, read it, study it, get to know when to set and how to tend and look after your selected crop.
Don’t expect to be good at it first time. The rewards will come with time and patience.

Pests and diseases.
Oh I forgot to tell you about the enemy trying to spoil your hard work and potential rewards.
.Here are just a few. Slugs, Snails, Greenfly, Black fly, Carrot fly,
White fly, Red spider mite, Wire worms, Mildew and many other fungus diseases.
And the birds they like fruit as well so you have to net the fruit to prevent attack.
Weeds!! The list is never ending. Given time you would learn.

When it comes to gardening you need a sense of humour to survive the failures.

Finally I have posted this article of my experiences of growing your own under the Humour category so I feel I must end on a note to that effect. The story is not written by me but I have told it many times.

It was a lovely summer’s day and I was tending my front garden which was in full bloom with all the flowers I had planted.
The house next door had been empty for 9 months and the front garden was a meter high with weeds, stinging nettles and thistles.
It was a right mess.
I was just getting to grips with tidying up when the local Priest was passing and stopped to have a chat.
He said” I see my friend the good Lord has been busy looking after your garden and bringing out the colour and beauty in it sir”.
I said “No, I’ve been looking after this garden”
I pointed and said, “That’s the garden your friend the good Lord has been looking after.

The Luton Bard. .


Garden Ideas, Garden Vegetables, Gardening In Small Areas, Gardening Story, Grow Vegetables, Grow Your Own

Meet the author

author avatar THE BARD
78 years old
I play table tennis and golf.
I'm a keen gardener.
I write amusing stories about
everyday things I see around me.

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author avatar Denise O
3rd Mar 2011 (#)

What a lovely article and wonderful looking crop you had. I am already in love with your home. Nice writing, love the pictures. Great job.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar THE BARD
5th Mar 2011 (#)

Thanks Denise O. Readers comments such as yours are the fuel to keep me writing. It's the results from the plot that keep me growing!

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