#3 recycling and growing your own vegetables

asparagus ready to flower

You know when you start something and wonder where it will end…….

We set up our raised vegetable box quite a few weeks ago along with a small plastic green house to help with seedlings, pots and 2 old butters sinks.

Not content with that, last weekend, I dug over a flower bed that was struggling under the strangling effects of a variegated grass and spreading sweet woodruff.  My efforts have revealed about 1m x 3m of ground that is going to take a mix of flowers and shrubs as well as even more vegetables than those we are already growing.  JC fancies a leek trench!!!

flowering strawberries

It is quite poor soil that we have never riddled or improved and have, historically, simply stuck shrubs into spaces when we got our hands on them.  It is filled with builder’s rubble from when our flat was formed as part of the conversion of the victorian terraced house it sits in,

In order to improve conditions a little, a healthy portion of turkey manure that we had transported from the farm has been turned into it.  The bags of turkey manure are bought as a recycled by product of turkey farming and the 2 bags that we scrounged off the farm have been festering away at the back of the garden and smell mighty potent.  It seems that you only need 10% of horse manure or other soil improvers as it is that fertile.  I was warned that we might end up with triffids.


Our earlier efforts seem to be relatively successful, well stuff is growing. We now, however, have garlic and herbs planted in the new patch (turkey manure and all), cucumber, courgette and brocolli seeds are sitting in various containers in  the greenhouse waiting to sprout before they are planted into the newly fed flower bed.  It is very satisfying

As well as wanting to produce my own food, these tough times and the ‘grow your own’ gardening has made me into an even more committed recycler.  As a result of my planting needs and I have found some new uses for egg boxes, the cardboard tubes from a loo roll and the unused pee pads from when we were house training our wee dog when he was a pup.

loo roll 'pot' on a pee pad

Egg boxes are superb for seedlings, they hold moisture in the cardboard brilliantly and you just cut each section away from the other and plant them straight into the ground.  It means that the roots of your delicate seedlings are not disturbed and the cardboard breaks down as the plant grows and also feeds the soil.  The same applies to the loo roll tubes but these have to have the bottoms snipped and turned over to form a ‘pot’.

The most satisfying recycle of all though has been the training mats that we bought when ‘the furry one’ was a pup and house training was in hand.  He never needed house training particularly so the bulk pack of these matts that we bought have never been used.  We’ve tried giving them away to friends with pups but still seem to have too many taking up valuable storage space in our cupboards.  They now have a new life and are the moisture base of my mini greenhouse shelves that is keeping my seedlings watered!

tomatoes flowering but not looking too happy

Things seem to be thriving and it is very encouraging.  The tomatoes are the least happy of our ‘triffids’ but I have taken them out of the ‘greenhouse’, repotted them and hope the extra food and fresh air will bring them along.  The weather is a bit unpredictable, at the moment so I hope they don’t get nipped.

The more we do, the more confident we are becoming and already I don’t feel quite so ‘scared’ of it all now.  Come on sunshine, we want to start eating our salad!!!!!

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