How does your garden grow?

I'm on a voyage of discovery in my first garden.
It's mostly about the veggies at the moment but I'm also discovering lots about flowers and other plants - quite often the hard way and always on a very tight budget.
But this blog is not just about my garden, it's about all the things I see and discover in Sussex and beyond and I would love to hear from you too.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

No tools? No problem

Luckily my new garden came equipped with a shed, but the only tool I had to keep in there was a lonely hand trowel.
Armed with my little trowel and a borrowed fork, I managed to tackle the most pressing task of sowing some vegetable seeds but, with money tight, I had to find other ways of getting some tools.
My great-grandfather bequeathed his ancient but comprehensive tool collection to my father some years ago and, while they look more like the kind of things you find in museums, many are still perfectly good. Thanks to "Pop" I now have my own fork, a dutch hoe, a hand fork and another trowel.
While my salad crops are coming up nicely, I know that next year I want to grow a much wider variety of vegetables so I'm considering putting in another two beds and rotating the crops between them each year.
But to dig more beds, I really will need a spade, and for this I will need to part with some cash. But how can I choose?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Where to begin?

I may never have had a garden until now but my grandparents gave me an amazing insight into gardening, especially growing vegetables.
Beyond the back gate of their modest terraced cottage lay a sizeable plot of land where they grew everything imaginable - marrows and pumpkins, strawberries and raspberries, beans and peas - even neatly trained brambles for blackberries. There were apple and pear trees and row upon row of carrots, parsnips, cauliflower and potatoes. In the sheds were chickens and geese and there was usually a nervous-looking sheep lurking in a fenced off area at the end of the plot.
I spent much of my summer holidays helping my grandmother in her vegetable garden and always dreamed of having one of my own.
Now the dream is finally becoming a reality, but it's difficult to know where to begin.

When I arrived just a few weeks ago, there was already a raised bed installed on one side of my garden, brimming with overgrown, unharvested crops including chard, onions and potatoes. There was also a well-rotted compost heap and a good supply of bamboo growing in the corner behind the shed.
With a borrowed fork, I dug out most of the crops from the bed but left in some of the potatoes, transferring the rest into tubs which I put onto the patio area outside my back door.
But by late July, my options of what to grow were somewhat limited so I wasted no time in double digging the bed (still with only a fork), mixing some compost deep in the soil before sowing a selection of salad crops, beetroot, onions and a few dwarf french beans. I bought the seeds from Wilko for just under a fiver.