Finding Sanctuary in the Garden

Hello!

Grant here, I am delighted to join the band of Visit Dunfermline writers (thank you Jill for the introduction) and share my love for veggie gardening.

The sun has been shining, daffodils are out and it’s March already. Asian Greens, lettuce and cabbage are now ready to eat in the open beds having survived through most of the winter. 

Growing your own gets you back in touch with nature, makes you feel good and eventually you have something delicious you can eat. Freshly picked produce, particularly if it’s organic, is teaming with nutrients and minerals that boosts your health. 

Snacking on peas in the garden is a joy. If you plant sweet peas for the scent, add a few edible peas seeds in with the mix. Flowers and food!

Choosing vegetable seeds in a garden centre can be daunting. Below are a few pointers:

‘Grow only what you like eating,’ so you don’t waste your time. Now is the time to start sowing seeds. I hear you thinking, “Aye right! it’s a month and half before the last frost.” If you keep a few on a south facing window sill. 

As a rule of thumb; the veggies that take the longest, sow now. These include tomatoes, aubergines, corn, chilli, broad beans, onions some of the brassica family like cabbages, brussels. If you have space for potatoes, chit them by putting them in egg trays, out of direct sunlight. They will go green and little chits will appear. Try to use egg sized potatoes and cut the bigger ones to size.

“Seedy Saturday” is my reminder to sow a few seeds and transplant any seedlings into bigger pots or into the garden. My big mistake is forgetting sow seeds. The quick growing plants like lettuce need to be planted every week or two. Slow growers like cabbage, onions and carrots, I plant once a month. 

After sowing and watering, cover with cling film. This keeps the moisture in, making it less likely the soil will dry out and provides tiny greenhouse. You may need to mist them occasionally. Lolly stick plant labels, keep the plastic off the emerging leaves. Add more than one plant label to prevent having tray of unknown seedlings. Sow more than you need, allowing for failures and a few to give away.

There is nothing worse that slugs mowing your seedlings off at ground level. Here is an effective, low cost, non poisonous slug deterrent. 

Spinach beetroot and lettuce on New Years Day 2022.

Make use of the space around plants, aim to cover the soil, even if it’s a few quick growing lettuces or spring onions. Their roots feed the microbial population that in turn will feed your plants and your gut healthy.

Planting out will be later this month in the case of cool hardy plants like cabbages, lettuce and Asian greens and May for tender plants like tomatoes and cucumbers.

Try growing micro greens on a window sill; Cress is surprising delicious and packed full of nutrients. It’s entertaining for children because it is quick and easy. 

Use damp paper towel in a plastic tub, sprinkle some seed on the paper, a light dusting of cinnamon and put the lid on the tub. Cinnamon helps to prevent fungal growth. When the green stems start to emerge take the lid off and spritz with water to keep the paper damp. When the seedlings have more than two sets of leaves, cut the stems and use with salad or on a sandwich. When done, put the remnants on the compost pit or brown bin. 

An economical way to plant microgreen seeds from bottles of whole spices or packets of dried beans, pulses, chia from the supermarket or health food shop.

Try any one of these:

  • Amaranthaceae Family: Amaranth, Beet, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Quinoa are all members of this family.
  • Asteraceae family / Daisy family: Chicory, Endive, Lettuce and Radicchio are all member of this family.
  • Apiaceae family / Umbellifers: Carrot, Celery, Dill and Fennel are all member of this family.
  • Brassicaceae family / Mustards: Arugula, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish and Watercress are all members of this family.
  • Microgreens can be made from cereals like rice, oats, wheat, corn, and barley, as well as legumes like chickpeas, beans, and lentils.

Click here for more information on microgreens.

Tatsoi Asian Green, New Years Day 2022

I look forward to sharing more with you all.

 

Until next time.

 

Grant

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