Following the excitement of growing our own fruit and veg in our garden for the first time last year, this time I’m taking it seriously and making plans for a kitchen garden that’ll (hopefully) provide all the fresh produce we’ll need. As such, I’m going to be sharing a monthly update on progress of our grow-your-own garden each month so you can grow-along with me.
Last month, I kicked off the gardening year by sharing an update on how we built our veggie patch in 2020 and how well the crops performed. That makes me sound like such a pro but, in reality – and not knowing what I was doing – I just grew an excessive number of tomato plants and had a go at growing whatever seeds we already had in the shed that had been given to us in the past. Have a read of my January garden update blog post if you haven’t already to see how we got on in 2020 and why things are going to change this year. We had actually planned to take some time off during half-term this month in order to get started on digging a new allotment space in our front garden. And then, this happened…
For the whole week that I’d allocated in the diary to start building and digging, the garden was covered in snow. I reckon it was about 10 inches deep in the drifts. I certainly had fun jumping into deep piles of powdery snow and building a mini igloo. And then I remembered that we already had a few items in the vegetable beds so I crunched my way down the path to check on the leeks, garlic bulbs and pots of strawberries. I know that strawberries are fine in the frost as long as they’re not blooming, so I kept my fingers crossed!
One casualty of the snow was the outdoor sink. We usually lag the tap over the winter but we’d been rather relaxed about it this year, as we had barely had any frost. But when the snow came, the tap and its connecting pipe froze solid so we had to disconnect it from the water supply and allow it to defrost slowly. The frost got into a hairline fault in the ceramic sink and, when we went outside this weekend to assess the garden post-snow, we spotted that the sink had cracked. Not a problem – some extra-strong superglue has fixed it and now it ‘rings’ again like a ceramic bowl should.
Although there are no bees out there at the moment, one of the things that I want to sort out this year is the bee ‘problem’ we have. Each year we are visited by a group bees and they burrow into the lawn to lay eggs and hunker down for the winter. They aren’t a problem in the spring and summer but by September there’s quite a few of them covering lawn. I’m all for letting the bees live happily in our garden but I thought I could be little more accommodating and provide a little hotel for them.
I’m hoping this will encourage them to live in their allocated ‘home’ rather than in my lawn. It’s a long shot, but I liked the design of the little bee house and it’s worth a try! By the way this photo above was taken today so there’s no excuse for us not to get out into the garden and start digging while the weather is so sunny. It’s such a lovely contrast from last week.
In other news, we still haven’t taken delivery of our seed order from Growseed.co.uk and to be honest I have since forgotten just how many seeds we’ve ordered. We will definitely have to dig over the front garden to create another mini-allotment if we want to fit in all the crops I’ve chosen! We’ve got sweetcorn, two varieties of beetroot, salad, two types of beans, multiple packs of onions, carrots, two kinds of peppers and much more. At Christmas my bro-and-sis-in-law gave us an interesting pack of colourful ‘Funky Veg‘ varieties including yellow courgette (a favourite of mine), purple carrots and tiger tomatoes so it’ll be fun to see these fruit later in the year.
I can’t wait to get the seeds started and I mentioned previously that I’d rather get a small greenhouse than have my sunny kitchen full of seedlings like last year. I’ve been reading guides on the important things to consider and, out of all the different options, what are the best things when buying a greenhouse. I think I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of choices to suit the space we have available. Did you see how snowy my plant bar was this week? I shared a photo on Instagram with the icicles hanging from the roof – not the best environment for growing my seedlings, eh?
So I’ve been shopping around and measuring up to see what we can fit in our small garden. Just because there’s a limit to the size of your garden, it shouldn’t mean that you’re unable to grow-your-own veg if you want to – so I’ve done the research and found a 4 x 2 mini wooden greenhouse from Waltons that I think will be ideal for seedlings. We have room for two of these on the patio and maybe one more in the soon-to-be-created front garden allotment patch so I think I’m going to order these ready for March.
So, here’s the plan for next month (and you can pop back in March to see how we get on):
- Clear and dig front garden veggie patch
- Plant raspberry canes
- Buy and build mini greenhouses
- Start sowing seeds in trays
- Harvest leeks and think of something to do with them (so many leeks!)
Let me know what you’ve been up to in your own garden this month in the comments below and feel free to give me any tips for starting a new veggie patch, I need all the help I can get! And don’t worry, I’ve checked the strawberries this week and they’re (mostly!) doing fine and have been sprouting more leaves – but I think it’s probably a good ideas to pop them inside a mini greenhouse for the time being 🙂
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