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Make your own, grow your own – part 2

Hi everyone,

I am back with part two of this mini series (sounds serious 🙂 ).

I am not a great gardener. I don’t know much about growing veg and fruits, but I decided that I would educate myself on this topic and give this a go.

So I went to the local library a few times and gathered some books on growing vegetables, fruits and herbs. It took a few trials by the time I found a book that suited me and the way I needed information.  I chose this book and kept renewing my loan till I decided it was time to own the book. I could not find it second hand, so I ordered a new one. It is called: The organic Vegetable Gardener by Yvonne Cuthbertson.

The Organic Vegetable Gardener

And then we had a plan of how we want to organise our little garden to fit all of the plants we wanted to grow.

The approach I wanted to take is to grow fruit and veg that doesn’t come without packaging. Here’s a list of what we grow and my plan with each fruit/veg:

Peas: I like peas in moderation. They come in plastic bags from the frozen sections, so we stopped buying them. I hope to grow a few kgs of peas that can be frozen in small batches, and used for cooking throughout the year. (I dont like peas in those jars, they just look so sad in there)

Spinach: Spinach can be easily frozen in batches too.

Salad leaves: I learnt quite a few things about salads as a type of dish lately. Before when I thought of salad I imagine a bowl of green leaves, tomatoes, pepper, cucumber etc… Salad leaves do not come without packaging (plastic wrap) unfortunately. The only thing we can do about this is to grow our own, but in the winter it is not possible. Then comes the idea of winter salads into the picture. Even though I knew you could make salad using cabbage, beetroots, carrots, celeriac and apples, I never really ventured so far to try them. Until now. And they are tasty, very tasty. I have dedicated a planter with a lid for growing Italian salad mix during the summer and in the winter we will eat more winter salads.

Berries: They almost always come in a plastic clamshell type box. We planted the following bushes: red currant, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. And 24 strawberry plants. We will see how much we can grow.  Apparently the black and blueberries grow quite big, so that will add a bit more green to our garden.

Herbs: I love using herbs and even though we have pretty wide variety of dried herbs, I would like to grow a few that I can use fresh such as thyme, oregano, rosemary. I have sowed lots of basil seeds in two trays, that were later transferred into bigger pots. Now we have approximately 20 pots of basil in our windows. That is a lot, but I am growing these to make homemade pesto. We really like a pesto bread recipe, but not so keen on the pesto that you buy in a jar. So grow your own and make your own.

At the back of the garden I planted one elderflower bush. I am not convinced that it has started to grow roots, but we will see. I love elderflower cordial, so hopefully in a few years time we can harvest our own flowers. Until then foraging is the solution.

Sadly we don’t have a pantry and my kitchen cupboard house lots of things, so I needed to find a corner in the house to make a pantry cupboard for the elderflower cordial  and some other preserved foods that I am going to make in the canning season. (most of them will be some sort of tomato product: pizza-pasta sauce etc..)

Isn’t that pretty?

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Just a few more pictures here that I want to share:

Three raised beds and a few pots.

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We also put two panels of picket fence in place. The reason for this: there was as steep slope at the back of the garden that we have filled up, but it is still not that great. So to visually break this we put two panels of picket fence. Now it looks like that we have a back garden in our garden. And we could hang more pots for strawberries.

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Blue is the dominant color in the garden. It is very cheerful and vibrant, especially when the sun comes out.

I am thinking about writing a summary of my zero waste (almost) shopping here in Swords, Ireland, where we live. I few people have asked if I had a list where to go, so I am going to write about this. It is going to be a repetition of what I have posted earlier in separate posts, but maybe it is going to be more useful for someone who just started this journey.

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