GROWing ambitions: January 2017

At the end of January 2017, I have some great growing plans. And a plan to produce a monthly blog on my growing escapades…..

In December, I started working at the GROW Observatory and am now pursuing some great ambitions to get people growing food across Europe over the next 3 years. With our first campaign due for launch in May, we’re aiming to engage growers in some soil and growing experiments, testing what we can achieve together with soils sensors, home made soil kits and growing advice.

And at home, for Christmas this year, I got a greenhouse. Which is a neat way for me to combine both home and work. Very exciting times. A new greenhouse (new to me anyway) means I’ll be able to extend my usually short growing season and maybe get some bigger crops into the bargain. The growing season at home usually starts in May and ends in September and in that time, my crops need to germinate, grow, flower and fruit. Up to now, they’ve not always made it in time.

So what have we done in January? Progress so far has been preparing the ground for the greenhouse to sit on….. greenhouse-base

The next stage will be erecting the greenhouse itself. And then organising my planting space. Of course I already have plans and some seed……
Tomatoes constitute my main plan, alongside starting off beans and sweet peas early enough that they have a long enough season to produce pods and flowers. Pre – greenhouse I have never managed to produce flowers or pods until September when they have 4 short weeks before they slow down and then get frostbitten.
So in my seed tin so far I have:
Tomato Yellow Pear
Cucumber Crystal Lemon
French bean Cosse Violet sans fils
Borlotti Lingua di Fuoco

wp_20170131_22_08_20_pro
What else should I plant? I’m browsing seed catalogues and trying not to get carried away. I have my eye on a seed mix of edible flowers, a win win for me, pollinating insects and the salad bowl. And then I’m also looking for early ripening tomatoes. And of course, we’ll want to grow courgettes again. Never had much luck with them. Salad mixes are also always a good idea too – they grow quickly, although not always quickly enough to beat the slugs, and having a mixture looks good in the ground and on the plate. I’m also keen to try rocket again and this year may be the year I manage to grow beetroots bigger than golf balls.
Next post: February: will the greenhouse be erected?

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