Myself and little bear had a very productive day in the garden yesterday, and I fully intended to tell you all about it today. Got some fab pictures of madam watering her plants, and for the first time I fully appreciated what a little poser she is!
Anyway, I shall have to share this with you tomorrow, because last night I received a beautifully written, and thoroughly inspirational story from one of my gorgeous followers. His name is Matt Hardy, a train driver/photographer/daddy/novice veggie grower from Yorkshire. I've never met Matt before but felt compelled to share his story and pictures with you...I happily encourage any of you to do the same. Any tiny piece of help and advice might just be of use to someone else.
So, ladies and gentlemen. I give you.....
Hi Jayne,Right, firstly, on a sliding scale of gardening expertise I'm the idiot stood at the back holding the trowel by the wrong end wondering where the batteries go.
However my 8 year old daughter Grace had been learning about fruit and vegetables at school and wanted to have a go at growing her own. So, with some left over decking from a previous project, some wooden stakes and a pack of screws I put together a 6 foot by 4 foot raised bed and hammered it down on to the lawn Filled it with 10 bags of cheap compost and mixed in half a bag of well rotted manure. Total cost £25, and as a Yorkshire man that hurt but was worth the effort.
Now the fun bit. Myself, daughter Grace and moody 13 year old sloth son Callum set off to the garden centre, and probably spent about 20 quid on seedlings of every type rushed home plonked them in the bed and sat back feeling rather proud of ourselves. Sadly, three frosty nights and an industrious snail saw the lot off and left us once again with an empty bed! First lesson learnt, don't plant out until after the last frost and protect against snails and slugs. We did the latter by sticking copper coins and old copper piping around the bed (this really works) and arming the little one with a bucket with which she gathered up any stragglers and promptly slung them in the canal.
Next we decided to go for the option of buying a few bags of seeds from the local Aldi, carrots, beetroot, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, etc and planted them all in neat rows, watered and kept out fingers crossed.
Henry the Hedgehog
At this point during a late night barbecue I hear a strange rustling from the bushes, take a look and find Henry the Hedgehog, snuffling out snails. Bribing him with the occasional plate of cat food we have now managed to convince him to stay. This is perhaps the best slug control system I have ever come across and recommend bribing a hedgehog to live in your garden to anyone.
Or as she is more commonly known, Erica. She lives in the terrace and knows everything there is to know about things that grow out of and under the ground.
Perhaps being a little over enthusiastic with the size of the bed I decided to offer a third of the plot to Erica. This is probably my best move yet. Not only has the whole street now taken an interest in growing their own I now have a lady who helps out with the weeding and tending to the crops... Brilliant.
Six weeks on and we are really starting to groan under the weight of rocket salad, lettuce, radishes, and have had so many brassicas (I didn't even know that word until recently) that we have had to thin them out and are using the surplus as bedding plants around the rest of the garden! And you know what? I couldn't be happier... I'm already making room for my pumpkins to go in and wondering where the next bed is going to go. My son has taken control of the hose pipe like its a games console and my daughter is always out there doing a bit of weeding. Bring on the Veg!
Finally if anyone is in any doubt about how easy this is, Grace came home from school with a sunflower seedling and planted it at the back of the garden, similarly my pet parrot called Tetley had managed to launch one of his sunflower seeds out of the aviary and it started to grow where it landed. We now have a sunflower growing competition going on between an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old African Gray parrot. And with no help from any grown ups.
THANK YOU MATT!!! (AKA www.twitter.com/@matt18295)