Sarah's Maryhill Vegetable Growing Adventure
by Sarah MacAninch
Freya Modelling the Potato Patch (Behind Her) and the Pots
Vegetable growing - I have always been slightly obssessed with all things green and home-grown or made, ever since I was a wee girl growing up in the Clyde Valley in the west of Scotland. I spent my childhood watching my paternal grandparents grow, build, make, bake, preserve, bottle and nurture (children and animals included), just about anything you could think of, and many things you would not expect.
This inspired in me a desire to see if I could be as productive as them with vegetable growing, or even half as productive, and a love of all things "homely".
My ultimate dream is to live on a smallholding or croft somewhere, raising my family alongside our own fruit, veg and small livestock. Presently, however, at our home in Maryhill in Glasgow, a tiny patch of dirt, (the use of gifted from my generous neighbour), some spare strips of ground under some trees/between pre-existing plants and all the containers I can get my hands on suffices for my vegetable growing!
The wee plot where I have do most of my vegetable growing is a tiny (approximately) 5ftx8ft space, that among other things has had gorse bushes, ivy, trees and the beginnings of a rockery growing in it, so as you can imagine, took A LOT of clearing and digging out for such a small area.
Whole slates, endless stones, roots, rusty nails, polystyrene blocks?! chunks of glass and the tops of several cans are among some of the things I found while digging it over for the first time this spring. Although I managed quite successfuly to grow some courgettes and 2 potato plants in it last year, only a small part of the ground had been worked, due to my humungeous baby belly at the time stopping me from bending over to dig properly.
Presently vegetable growing in the veg patch consists of 8 brussels sprout plants, 2 small rows of mixed root veg, (carrots, parsnips and leeks), some marigolds to attract aphid-eating ladybirds, a small row of spinach beet, a small row of leeks, a small row of intermingled carrots and radishes, and 2 small rows of swedes.
There are also some Grampa Ott flower seeds in there somewhere as I read that they also attract ladybirds.
The radishes have been coming along nicely and will be ready to harvest in the next week hopefully. I did have a problem with a certain neighbour's cat pooping in the patch every night despite my best cleaning-up efforts so now it's protected by some chicken wire.
Also in the front garden there are pots with peas which are coming up more every day now, sweet peas and a lavander plant which I am still deciding where to put, so is in the sunniest part of the garden. I also recently purchased a wee plastic greenhouse to help in my vegetable growing, that currently houses courgette, french climbing bean, sweet william and mixed salady type plants, and french dwarf bean and pumpkin seeds which we are waiting to germinate.
I will also be putting some chilli plants and a peanut plant in there once I have transplanted the others out to make space, and when it warms up just a little bit!
Round the back I have 6 potato plants in a strip of ground under some trees, 4 in pots, a mixed herb pot, a mixed salad pot and a pot with carrots and radishes approx 2 weeks in front of the ones in the patch. There is also some mixed fruit bushes but they're only in their 2nd year so I don't expect anything harvestable from them this year.
Although it sounds like lots, I only have a small number of each type growing, and since this is the first year that I have attempted to grow most of the stuff I don't know how my vegetable growing will turn out. It's more of a wee experiment until I have more experience and knowledge of what my garden can cope with! Oh, and also on occasion we find a present from the, probably quite disgruntled, cat so not sure how that will affect our plants!
I dug some organic chicken poo pellets into the ground about 6 weeks before I planted any seeds, as I was pretty sure the ground under the trees especially wasn't of the best quality, and the potatoes under there are looking healthy and strong.
The other wee plants took a while to get started, and the first 8 brussels that I planted out strangely dissapeared one night, but they all seem to be doing well now. I did sprinkle plenty of slug pellets around, and I'm quite glad as every morning we look, my 3 year old daughter is delighted and horrified to find hundreds of dead/dying slugs and snails around them-yuk. Last year we picked them off and threw them down the drain but never seemed to catch them all, so I am glad I used the pellets, espec since there seem to be so many.
The best thing about having my vegetable growing patch etc isn't just the fact that we'll be able to have food to eat that is fresher and healthier than anything we could buy from a shop, or that we're decreasing our carbon footprint, or that it's a fantastic excuse to get some time of my own where I can destress and THINK, or even the fact that hopefully it will in the long-run, save us some money.
It's the sheer, unadulterated joy at watching something that I have, very simply, put in some earth, watered then examined every day with bated breath to see if it will indeed pop out of its wee seed casing, grow and get bigger and stronger and reach up to become something so much more than what it was before. And of course the absolute wonder and surprise in Freya's voice and face when she realises that the wee seeds we planted are "wee plants mummy!". Fantastic.
Stay posted to see how our vegetable growing and potato patches get on and some reviews on what's hot and what not to grow in Craigieburn Gardens... gardens!