Thursday, 25 May 2017

Creating an Edible Garden with Homebase (and Kids) Part 2 #GardenGoals

How does our garden grow?  Following our first Homebase gardening post and subsequent balcony gardening update earlier in the month, here's the update on our Balcony Renovation Project (official title).  We have gone from total wreck to pollinator-filled, productive delight in a matter of weeks, proof that with a bit of time, effort and guidance it's easy to achieve those Garden Goals.


Our first task after our Homebase shopping trip was to set up some more vertical planters so we could get everything in to our 4m by 1m space.  When space is limited, growing vertically is ideal, and it gives you even more to look out on from indoors too.  If you are gardening up high, or have high fences or walls around your patch, planting pollinator-attracting plants such as these scabious up high helps 'advertise' your offering to passing insects.  You can find more pollinator-friendly plants in our article on how to plant a bee-friendly garden.



We're currently working on our neighbourhood to put a second one day task into operation: making our own compost, but haven't been able to secure space for it yet.  We'll let you know!

Homebase has a wealth of information over on their website, all broken down into one hour, half day or full day tasks, complete with shopping lists and easy to follow instructions.  We followed their How to grow your own strawberries guide, a simple one hour task.  We were a bit late getting the plants in as the guide advises March-April planting, but the plants we bought were well-established and healthy, so we figured it was worth a go.


The plants went in easily and were quickly in flower.  After being on holiday, we got back to find the plants healthy and fruit forming, so in the absence of straw we spread some shredded wooden packaging material underneath to protect the berries from getting too wet and rotting.  We will have some delicious strawberries to eat soon.



We undertook a couple of other one hour jobs, planting herbs and growing our own tomatoes which the girls loved doing.  Following the instructions on the Homebase website was really easy and straightforward.  For the tomatoes we read the instructions out to Lara and Sophia, showed them the guiding pictures and they pretty much did it themselves.




Tatiana has been in charge of watering the tomatoes, and done a great job.  She even gave Nanny specific instructions on how to water them whilst she was on holiday!  She was very keen to get outside as soon as we got home to see how her patch had grown.  The grafted plant is well in advance of the conventionally grown ones, so has now been given a pea stick for support.  The smaller bush plants are in flower and the others are all coming on nicely.  Now we just have to keep feeding and watering and wait for fruit.



Our bigger, half a day job was to make a mini vegetable garden with kids.  Growing vegetables is one of the best ways to get children involved in gardening, and also a great way to encourage them to eat more vegetables and salads.  Who wouldn't want to, literally, eat the fruits of their labours?  It doesn't matter how much space you have, growing veg in pots, or even a window box, is so easy.  You can even grow tomatoes or peppers indoors on a window sill.


The girls loved planting cucumber, pepper, pea, broad bean and cabbage plants, then dotting in carrot and spring onion seeds around.






Seeing the plants establish, begin to produce flowers and fruit, and grow is so rewarding for children, and ours loved coming back from holiday to see how much everything had grown.




They were especially delighted to see that their seeds had sprouted, Lara couldn't wait to take a photograph.  (Although I think I may have to do some judicious thinning out one evening!)


With the broad beans going great guns we have put in willow sticks and given them a support frame with some garden string and given the growing peas some netting to cling to.



To find out how we get on, and how productive our space can be, follow our monthly Balcony Gardening features.


I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the above product and I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.


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