I’m not a green fingered girl. My gardening skills currently run to rushing to my Mum’s every so often (usually when the grass in my back garden reaches Serengeti dimensions) to borrow her mower. So when Yeo Valley challenged me to get creative in the garden, I was a little stumped. Still, I love a challenge, and a quick trip to the garden centre later saw me armed with multi-purpose compost, a selection of seeds and a can-do attitude. Here’s what I learned:
Growing seeds is easy
First things first, have a quick recce around your outside space. If you’ve got a balcony, then consider keeping it small with, say, a few pots of herbs and maybe some salad potatoes in a little tub. Salad leaves take up little room and you can grow peas purely for their shoots, which are lush in salads.
Grab any available containers (thank you Yeo Valley) and fill them with compost. Pop in your seeds (read the instructions) and remember to water the little chaps occasionally and you’re in with a good chance that things will grow. It’s that easy.
BUT feel free to cheat
Don’t fancy growing things from seed? Garden centres and markets are currently full of all sorts of seedlings. I picked up two heritage variety seedlings for just £1.00 each at my local market, and now the chances of frost are past, the stallholder assured me they’d be fine in the garden.
So how did I do?
As you can see from the pictures, I had terrific success with my sweet peas, which I’ve now transferred to a larger pot in the garden, complete with some canes, optimistically added for them to climb. My herbs are also thriving: I’ve got basil, coriander, thyme and mint all doing wondrously. For some reason, my salad potatoes didn’t chit (they’re supposed to grow shoots when left on a sunny windowsill – mine sulked and did nothing of the sort), but I’m not beaten that easily so I’m starting again with a fresh batch. I also now have a beautiful Nigella plant which will add lovely flowers and delicious scent to my little patio.
If you’d like to know more, why not try Laetitia Maklouf’s wonderful book, Sweet Peas for summer, which has all sorts of hints and tips for the novice gardener, or try and get down to one of Yeo Valley’s gardening lectures with gardening greats such as Bunny Guinness and Jekka McVicar. Find out more here