Back in April, I discussed my epic plans for the garden in an attempt to put some genuine home-grown food on our plates. Well dear readers, the garden has somewhat flourished since that post, and we now appear to have a good run of crops in potatoes, shallots, and tomatoes. For a full list of what’s growing in the garden, click on the landscape garden image to view the notes on Flickr.

Has it been worth it? Yes. It’s been a fun exercise and we’ve learnt a lot of lessons about how much effort and time it takes to grow your own food and the restrictions of working in a terraced yard. If you do plan on doing this yourself there are a few things to bear in mind:

  1. Get a greenhouse. Just a small £20 one. It helps to germinate the seeds quickly, and who knows how long it would have taken to get some of the plants going without it.
  2. Get lots of cheap containers. The dirt the food grows in has to grow in something. Oddly, most people seem to overlook this when budgeting. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – the basic requirement is that it adequately holds dirt. We’ve got a range of containers, from wooden tubs which were on special offer at a tenner a piece, to garden rubbish buckets currently holding the potatoes. We made an extravagance on two galvanised steel containers which to be quite frank are rather rubbish. Keep them basic and large.
  3. You will spend an extraordinary amount of money on dirt. By dirt I mean compost, but when you get down to it, it’s glorified dirt. If like us you live in a terraced house, your yard contains no natural dirt and you’ll have to import all of it. Vegetables on the whole are relatively unfussy things. They do not care if you use miracle grow or Uncle Pete’s wholesale budget compost at a tenth of the price. Save the cash for more containers.
  4. You will spend most of your money on 2 and 3. The rest pales into insignificance by comparison.
  5. Get a book that you can understand on the subject.

In your first year, you are not expecting to become a master gardener. Your aim is to put something in the ground and make it grow. As such, your first reference book needs to be something with bright colours, simple instructions and guidance you can understand. My recommended reference for the novice would be Plot, Pots or Growbags available from Amazon for under £7.

I don’t need to say much about this book, the reviews on the Amazon page tell it all. It’s such a straightforward and useful book, you really can’t fail with it. We bought most of our seeds from Suttons online shop and were surprised with how slick an operation it was.

Cat is currently cooking a chicken, mushroom, leek and shallot pie to celebrate some of the early harvest. Today we shall ignore the diet. Now, time to plan for Autumn planting…