Happy Stuff!

Grow-a-long!

May 15, 2014

I have a plan.
A cunning plan with ulterior motives-that a) I will get out in the garden and actually get on and grow some things; and b) get LOTS of free gardening advice 😉

Does anyone fancy joining in with a Grow-a-long?
My idea is this:

  • I will plant some stuff-veggies, fruit, herbs, wildflowers for the bees and bugs etc and post pics of my progress on here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #growalong
  • You all join in and post your pics too
  • We all can help each out with hints and tips and motivation 🙂

From a Make Do and Mend perspective, I’m going with the whole Grow Your Own approach-so anything edible, wildlife friendly etc etc. would be just fabulous!

Be warned-I am a complete gardening incompetent. I used to rely only mum to do the garden for us help out, but now she is no longer here, I figured I should ‘woman up’ and get my hands dirty.

Wanna join in?
Just post your pics, tips, comments and questions on the Facebook page here, tweet me @makeandmendyear, or post to Instagram (I just joined-I am makedoandmendable). Remember to use the hashtag #growalong so I can find and share your pics 🙂

To get us started, here are some pics of my garden at the moment. There’s good news and bad…

This is our garden. It's quite small, and as you can see, over-run with kiddy bits...

This is our garden. It’s quite small, and as you can see, over-run with kiddy bits…

Some of the herbs are going ok:

I think this is oregano. It is growing well, but I rarely use it in cooking. Want to re-pot it too, as I am having a plastic pot purge!

I think this is oregano. It is growing well, but I rarely use it in cooking. Want to re-pot it too, as I am having a plastic pot purge!

The sage is also going a bit bonkers, but is very leggy and needs re-potting

The sage is also going a bit bonkers, but is very leggy and needs re-potting

But others are not looking so great…

Mint and rosemary

Mint and rosemary

This is the current state of the ‘veg patch’

Hmmmmm….

Hmmmmm….

I am considering taking up the paving stones, and using the whole strip along the back fence for veggies instead-any thoughts on this?

Garden09

And I want to turn our front garden into a soft fruit area
Garden10

At the moment we have a gooseberry and a white currant, but I want to root up all the non-edible bushes and replace them with redcurrant, blackcurrant etc

Having never been a gardener, I am actually pretty excited about this, and hope it will give me the motivation to get going. Please come and help me 🙂
#growalong

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  • Reply Waste Less Live More-Grow It | My Make Do and Mend Year September 25, 2014 at 7:00 am

    […] attempted to start a whole Grow-a-long thing earlier on this year, hoping that it would force me to get out there and actually do some […]

  • Reply Maryom June 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Don’t worry – you’re not too late! Still plenty of time for quick salad crops – lettuce, radishes etc – or anything that will overwinter – spring onions,cabbages,kale. It’s also the time when gardeners with surplus plants start offering them free to good homes – you might be lucky enough to pick up runner beans or tomatoes ready to be planted out.

    • Reply Jen June 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Great, thankyou for the encouragement!

  • Reply must be thrifty May 23, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Your grow-a-long idea sounds like a great idea. Will definitely hashtag you if I put up a photo of my herbs/veg/fruit.

    • Reply Jen May 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Great! Look forwards to seeing what you are growing 🙂

  • Reply Chris May 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I think this is a great idea. When we moved into our house 38 years a go[ gosh was it really that long ago] we decided we would only plant plants that gave us food, the bees pollen, the birds berries and seed and necture for the butterflies and on the whole we have stuck to this.Start a list of all the fruit veg and herbs you have you will be surprised a the length of the list.According to our local bee keeper dandilions are veg and very inportant to his bees, the Guinea pigs will love them and you can eat them so those and many other so called weeds grow in my flower beds for the wild life, it saves weeding. Enjoy your gardenig.

    • Reply Jen May 17, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      What a great policy! Thanks Chris 🙂

      • Reply Chris May 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

        Having been out this morning I have realised it is time to forage for lime tree flowers for making lime flower tea,this can be sweetened with honey and in France it is often given to fractious children with MacFarlane to dip in it. Also the Elderflowersare out for Elder Champagne and Elder flower fritters.

        • Reply Jen May 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

          Oooh, what do lime trees look like?

    • Reply Chris May 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Lime trees see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia they are popular street and park trees around here. I dry mine in the car for several days as it gets hot in there when the car is in full sun.

      • Reply Jen May 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        Great, will keep my eye out! Thankyou 🙂

  • Reply alderandash May 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    As Lesley C above, says – the space along the fence could be a wonderful growing area, if it gets some sun. Salad is great to grow in pots – plant quite a lot, and don’t wait for it to grow into big lettuces – you can just cut leaves off as you need them. They’ll put up with this for quite a few weeks, as long as you water them fairly often and don’t cut the whole of one plant down at once. Sow seeds for another pot/tray every month or so, to have salad all summer. Rocket is super fast but there are many lovely leaves to try. You can also eat baby leaves of plants that are not ‘officially’ salad – eg Pak choi – which the slugs and snails seem to leave alone in my garden…Potatoes are also good in pots/buckets/old compost bags too (the ‘new’ potatoes such as Charlotte taste wonderful when home-grown…) If you’re pushed for time, perennial veg are unusual but take little time compared to annual veg. I could go on and on! I love growing food, happy to help if I can. Oh, and I love your blog – I shall stop by often for making and mending inspiration!

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      So many great tips-thankyou! Are you on Twitter/FB? Would love you to share some of your pics for us all to see!
      Thankyou so much for your lovely words about the blog 🙂

      • Reply alderandash June 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

        Hi there, hope the growing is going well so far…I’m at war with the pigeons this year, which is hampering my efforts, but there always seems to be something to harvest! I will have a look at your FB page…

        • Reply Jen June 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

          My growing is non existent unfortunately. Fearing I have now well and truly left it too late to get started for this year!

  • Reply lesleygcooper May 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Do you know which way your fence faces? I have planted some Minarette fruit trees, which are very productive. They are single stem fruit trees which you can plant as close as two feet apart, but they would need a good amount of sun. Or you could do runner beans or raspberries along there. Or even outdoor tomatoes. Your little vegetable bed could keep you all in salad all summer with a planting of cut and come again lettuce, watercress and rocket, and maybe some spinach. And even some radish sprinkled in between.

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      I think it faces South Lesley, but is shaded by the house most of the time 🙁
      I worry a bit about the slugs with lettuces. And we had some lettuce last year that my mum planted, but it was really bitter. Is that just the type? Any recommendations for nice tasting ones?!

      • Reply lesleygcooper May 15, 2014 at 9:32 pm

        Yes, it was probably the type. Try ones labelled ‘cut and come again’, or as someone else said, take leaves here and there leaving the growing point, and you can do this for ages before they give up. All Year Round is a good variety.
        Packets of marrow fat peas, from the food aisle, much cheaper, can be grown as pea shoots. Plant them closely in a seed tray and pick them after a few weeks. Again, pick the tops off each time and a few fronds, and they will keep growing for 4 or 5 pickings.
        All vegetables are best eaten young and tender.
        Rhubarb is pretty tough stuff and can be planted pretty much anywhere. Feed it loads, lots of water too, and don’t pick too much to let to grow into a strong plant and it will feed you for decades.
        How deep is the shade from the house. Is it shaded, but still bright if the sun is out, or is it really quite dark?
        Might be worth trying some runners or something, and see if they cope with the light levels

        • Reply Jen May 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

          So may fab tips! Thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Heather May 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I’ll enjoy watching your progress on this. Your garden is very similar to ours and I don’t have a great deal of space to grow much. I’m currently growing some herbs from seed on my kitchen window sill and on the patio I have strawberries and potatoes in pots. Most of my front garden is a drive way but I was wondering if I could grow either soft fruit bushes or even an apple or pear tree in pots out there.

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I am told you can grow fruit trees in pots-give it a go! And post a pic 🙂

  • Reply Maryom May 15, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    it’s a great idea – there’s nothing like growing your own veg and you may even get the kids to join in (mine were mainly interested in the digging/playing in mud)

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Would love to get the kids involved-our attempts last year largely centred around them digging up what we had already planted… Hopefully this year, they will be old enough not to…. *wishful thinking*

  • Reply Rita Marcangelo May 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Good luck Jen! There’s also loads of free food growing wild – at the moment, dandelions from your garden are surprisingly good – see http://www.foe.co.uk/green-blog/dandelions-free-food-us-bees

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Great, I’ll have a look, thank you!

  • Reply Antonia May 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I’m up for this Jen. I have a load of sweet peas that need planting out. Just the nudge I need.

    • Reply Jen May 15, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Yay!

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