Saturday, 21 February 2009

Getting ready for veg growing

It's been a lovely day today, quite spring like. My seed potatoes are installed on the window sill, hopefully to produce the first signs of life. I have been preparing for the new growing season and feel quite excited, I like to be ready. The first year I did it, it was all a bit of a rush, I went mad sowing seeds willy nilly not knowing what was going to come up. I was amazed when I did so well, especially as it was a bit of a hit and miss affair. I don't know anything about the different types of soil, the bugs that eat your food before you do, and when things should be planted, I like the idea of a surprise. I ended up with 69 tomato plants and was eating them untill December.

Last year I said I wouldn't grow so much, but did it happen, no! I ended up with 88 tomato plants, and was eating beans, courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers till they came out of my ear holes.

Anyway, I'm getting things ready again, collecting usefull bits and bobs, certainly don't want to buy anything. Have you seen those fancy plastic propogators with a lid? Don't need them. This is what you want, any plastic bottles, yoghurt pots, especially those with a lid on, plastic drinks cups, and plastic food trays. If you haven't got lids a bit of cling film will do to keep the seeds snug till they get going.

Large plastic water bottles can be cut open on the side to make a propogator, leave the lid attached, or the top cut off for a planter. Food trays are handy, don't forget to cut holes in the bottom. You can put a tray on the top to act as a lid.

If you are going to give away or sell plants and you don't want to give a pot away with it, use drinks cartons, make holes in the bottom, these soya milk cartons are ideal. You can also use dry cat food bags to plant stuff in if you haven't much room in your garden. I have made some more plant labels out of an oblong margarine tub, just cut strips of plastic. My plant ties are cut up strips of plastic bags, you can get loads out of a charity sack.

These plastic storage boxes come in handy for planting any extras in if you haven't room in the beds. I have to confess I bought these in a rush because I had plants coming up and nowhere to put them., but they will last a good few years and were only 97p each. Last year I had courgettes, broad beans, carrots, beetroot, dwarf beans, and even six runner beans with canes, in them. I lift them off the ground onto wood to give a better drainage. I built a cloche that just fits over four of them while the new plants need protection from the weather. If you want to rearrange your garden you can just move them around to suit.

These are the blue plastic crates I get out of the skip outside the takeaway, they are very handy for transporting small pots around the garden. Handy in the potting shed, and the greenhouse. I have got that many now I might sell some to other gardeners. So as you can see I am nearly ready. The raised beds are full of compost, soil, and hoss muck, just need turning over and a bit of fertiliser added. I need to get a fresh bag of compost for the seeds, and the greenhouse and plant shelters need recovering in plastic. I managed to get a free roll of industrial shrink wrap for that job. I might not grow potatoes in compost bags this year if I can find other suitable containers. I had such a job last year picking out all the slugs and snails hidden in the folds of the bag. What a nightmare. We just want the warmer weather now to get things started.
Daily spend - nothing


  1. Hi Ilona, I love the money saving ideas. I went to a local florist and managed to find lots of plastic containers and pots in their recycle bin - which I rifled just before the recycle lorry came round.

    I really think you should do a scarecrow... I didnt mention on my blog that my next door neighbour (who only ever talks to me to complain about something... usually the cats) was using binoculors sneakily around the edge of her curtains to try and see what it was I had in the garden. :-)

  2. I hope its ok to still comment on these old post,but you just made me laugh when you had said hoss muck...My Dad used to say that!.It must be a Staffordshire thing!.All my Tutbury family still say that!,xx


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