Tuesday 12 June 2018

Growing My Own Vegetables | Lifestyle

At the start of this year, and when I was thinking about some goals for the year ahead, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at growing my own vegetables. This is something I've thought about for quite a while but as a complete novice I didn't really know where to start. This meant lots of research and thinking about how and where I wanted to grow them in my garden. 

I initially picked up some different vegetable seeds from the garden centre and also a couple of windowsill greenhouses which allowed me to start some growing indoors and earlier in the year. Before long these seedlings got pretty big and it was time to move them outside. 

I'd often looked at Veg Trug's in the garden centre and I really liked the look of them so I knew from the start that this was what I wanted to grow my veggies in. I really like how they are a decent height and, as someone who suffers with back pain, I knew this would work best for me opposed to lots of bending down to ground level. This also seemed like the most straight forward and easiest option for me to be able to start growing vegetables quickly. 

When my Veg Trug arrived I was really excited to put it together and get started to with growing veg outside. The Trug itself was pretty straight forward to put together and once assembled I realised it was the perfect size and height to go beneath my windowsill. 

Once the weather finally stabilised and we had the last of the snow it was time to start sowing my seeds outside and migrating my seedlings from inside. Initially I wondered if the Veg Trug would be large enough for what I had planned on growing but as soon as I started sowing some seeds I realised it was plenty of space for what I needed. 

One thing I hadn't however considered was that my tomato plants would grow quite tall which meant they weren't suitable for the Veg Trug. I went on Ebay and ordered myself a couple of fabric tubs to go alongside my Trug and at a lower level these have worked perfectly for growing my tomatoes in. 

It was a really satisfying feeling when I first started to see life within the Veg Trug and when the initial little spouts of green appeared above the compost. The fastest growing veg for me was definitely my radishes which popped up the quickest and they were my first ever home grown vegetable! 

When I picked the radishes I felt such a huge sense of accomplishment that I had grown these myself. They also looked like the best radishes I'd ever seen! Some of them were huge and all were really brightly coloured. I soon realised that I'd planted way more than I would ever be able to eat so I was quick to give some away to my family to enjoy. This small sense of achievement and satisfaction also gave me an insight into why so many people enjoy growing their own veg. I could at last appreciate that little buzz that comes with it!  

On reflection, and a main thing I've learnt since starting this, is that I would have been better to stagger the planting of my seeds to perhaps a week or two apart opposed to all at the same time. This would have meant that I would have had a steady supply opposed to having to harvest them all at once. Prior to starting this I didn't really spend as much time as I had hoped researching exactly how to grow vegetables, and a big part of me has felt like I've been winging it, so I guess it was only to be expected that there would be a learning curve along the way.

The next vegetable to harvest was my mixed salad leaves which have just looked amazing the whole time they have been growing in the Trug. These leaves appeared much more quickly than my lettuce and it has been amazing to have fresh salad to hand and ready to pick from my garden whenever I've fancied it. A major bug bear of mine prior to growing my own was buying sorry looking salad leaves from the supermarket which then seemed to just go off pretty quickly. I love that I don't have to buy bagged salad anymore and it's meant that every time we have enjoyed salad with our meals it has always been so fresh, crisp and delicious. 

I think when I grow vegetables again next year I really want to think more about what I would get the most use from. I kind of rushed into it all this year and just picked up the seeds I liked the look of opposed to really thinking about what we eat on a regular basis. Staggered sowing of seeds will also help a lot in ensuring that all the veg I grow is consumed by us and provides us with a regular supply of the foods we most enjoy eating on a regular basis. 

If you've thought about growing your own vegetables I'd really recommend giving it a go. I've really enjoyed this whole experience and I feel pleased that I set myself a challenge that I have been able to complete successfully. I've really enjoyed looking after my veg and I've also found it to be a really mindful and relaxing past time which has definitely helped to calm me down during stressful periods. All in all it's made me a happier person and I feel good to have found a new activity I really enjoy. 

I'm currently really looking forward to seeing the other vegetables I have planted and who haven't made an appearance yet like my carrots, onions and green beans. There's still so much more to come! 

If you didn't already know, I decided to document my whole vegetable growing experience on YouTube so be sure to check out the videos here

Have you ever grown your own vegetables before?

Are you thinking about giving it a go now!? 


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