Master Gardener Brigid Philip encourages her Master Gardeners with monthly emailed tips and ideas to keep them inspired and growing, it’s an easy and direct way of supporting her food growing mentees. She’s included a great summary of Mark Ridsdill Smith’ s training session with the Master Gardeners a couple of weeks ago, more here.
Dear Households and all,
Have you rolled up your sleeves yet and started sowing seeds? Hope so!
All those who ordered seeds via me have received them now. Our seed order came from the catalogue which is on line at http://www.OrganicCatalogue.com . I am growing some seedlings, does anyone else want any Golden Sunrise Tomato, Pepper Marconi Rossa, Kohl Rabi, or purple sprouting broccoli seeds? I have some to give away… And don’t forget to retrieve your saved seed (Painted Lady?)!
Our most recent and inspirational Master Gardener training was on container growing skills given by Mark Ridsdill Smith, who lived in Islington up to last year when he moved with his wife’s job to Newcastle. He is the person who grew £900 worth (Tesco prices) of fruit and veg vertically on his terrace house and his small patio back garden! What did I learn? That :
If you have less sun (3-4 hours a day) then lettuce, rocket, and other salads, pak choi and stir fry greens, mint parsley, coriander, chives and woodland fruit like blueberries and blackcurrants will grow best.
If you have more sun (5-6 hours) then peas, beans and root crops potatoes, carrots, radish.
If you have lots of sun (6 hours +) fruiting crops like tomatoes,, courgette or squash, chillies/peppers, strawberries and aubergine.
On containers a good size guide is :
salads etc 5cm deep e.g. standard window box, veg tray
tomatoes, peppers chillies, carrots, runner beans 30cms deep 40 cms widee.g. big plastic bucket
squash courgette, fruit bushes 40 cms deep 50 cms wide e.g. recycling bin.
Don’t forget to punch enough holes in the bottom so the plant does not “drown”!
The guide is that the bigger the pot the bigger the crop.
Recommended organic composts are New Horizon and Vital Earth.
Feed your pots after 6 weeks (by which time the fertility of the compost will have been depleted). Recommended fertilisers are worm compost, seaweed extract (liquid feed), liquid comfrey, or organic tomato feed.
Don’t forget that the nearer the pots are to your back door the more likely you are to remember to look and see if they need watering…
If interested you can keep up to date with Mark’s latest vegetable exploits at http://www.verticalveg.org.uk or Twitter@verticalveg. Vertical Veg is a social enterprise that inspires and supports food growing in small spaces.
Beating the drought tips from Garden Organic here.
What to sow in March ideas here with links to Garden Organic factsheets courtesy of South London Master Gardener Coordinator Fiona Law. Or look in your Cooks Garden Planner/The Veg Grower’s planner.
Don’t forget to make your own compost for fertility and mulching – look at the Garden Organic website to find out how. A golden rule is to mix thinnish layers by colour (green, brown, yellow).
Best of luck with your growing season!