What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

If you enjoy growing your own food, you maybe wondering what you can grow over the colder months and how to prepare your garden now autumn is here, ready for winter. So here are some tips…

What Food Can You Grow In Winter?

Greenhouse

Whilst some plants can survive directly outdoors in winter, is useful to have a greenhouse to successfully grow your own food during the colder months here in the UK. Variable temperatures, hard frost and possible snow means that some won’t thrive without help. If you don’t already have a greenhouse, it is worth investing. Even if you don’t have much space for something larger, there are plenty of options such as these lean to greenhouses for sale from GBC Group for example.

What to plant

There are several things you can still plant outdoors or in a greenhouse to grow over the winter months. Don’t forget you can also plant herbs inside to. Here are some ideas of what to consider planting around October, if you haven’t aready:

Winter salad

This is best planted in a greenhouse, as it will need some protection from the elements.

Leafy Crops

Rockets, chard, kale and other leafy crops manage over winter with some help. Cabbage also does too.

Broad beans

These tend to do quite well over winter and can then be harvested much earlier than those planted in spring.

Peas

Peas tend to be quite hardy so these can be planted outdoors if you wish.

Onions

Onions don’t need much care but they do take a long time to grow. If you plant some now they will be ready next summer. So no time like the present!

Growing onions

Garlic

Growing garlic is similar to onions; planting now will mean they are ready to harvest next summer.

Carrots

Carrots will both just about manage over winter with a little protection. Pop them in the greenhouse and they will do just fine!

Parsnips

Parsnips are also hardy and will do well over winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts take up alot of space for a fairly long time, but they do well over winter so are worth considering.

Tips

• Protect your plants from hard frost by covering them over with a plastic sheet, tunnel, frame, or grow them in a greenhouse. Adding a layer of mulch will also help protect them.

• Use netting to protect your crop from birds over winter. Also beware of insects during these months, as you would throughout the other seasons.

• Water your crop sparingly over the wetter winter months.

Do you have any tips for preparing your food garden for winter? What else do you grow? 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

Garden, Growing, Grounding… A-Z of 30 Days Wild

G is for…

A-Z of 30 days wild

Garden

We spend alot of time in our garden. We help to encourage wildlife and nature into it, then take the time to enjoy it! During 30 Days Wild, we did many simple activities in our garden that embraces the whole concept of 30 Days Wild. You don’t have to just go on adventures to appreciate wildlife and nature; you do that anywhere!

Growing

We also use our garden for growing our own food. This is something we loved doing as part of 30 Days Wild, and generally too!

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#30DaysWild – Day 6: Grow Your Own

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Grounding

Grounding is such a simple but effective act – walking barefoot on the ground – and one Squiggle does regularly. I really should do it more often too!

Grofresh Kitchen Garden: Review and Giveaway

Grofresh kitchen garden is a brilliant way to grow herbs, plants and flowers indoors, with no mess and no fuss! It uses a clever patented celpod method of growing. This allows you to grow most plants quickly and easily, and is eco-friendly too. It is perfect for people who don’t have a garden, or who just want to grow extra food in their kitchen. It is fully automated and keeps the environment under optimal conditions, so you don’t need to be green fingered to gain a successful crop; in fact, it literally couldn’t be easier to grow your own food!

We were kindly sent a Grofresh kitchen garden to review…

Setting up

The Grofresh kitchen garden is extremely easy to set up as it comes pre-assembled except for the biolite, which easily slots into the base. You then simply add the nutrient solution, prepare the hydrocels, plant the seeds or plugs in the biocel, then turn it on.

Grofresh microgrower kitchen garden

Step by step;

Mix the nutrient solution provided with 1.3L of clean water and pour it into the base by removing the water filler cap, then replace the cap. Do not overfill. Make sure the growtop is on the growtank before filling. The essential nutrients are mixed with the water and delivered directly to the plants root system several times a day.

Prepare the hydrocels by soaking them in water until they are soft then squeeze out excess water. Slot them back into the celpod, securing them with the feet.

To plant the seeds just slice through the top of the hydrocel and put the seeds in about 1cm from the top, then place it in the biocel. Plugs are similar; just slice right through the middle of the hydrocel instead. See the instruction manual for more details on planting.

Functions

The microgrower has three watering settings (low, medium and high) and you can change between them using just one button. It uses flashing lights to indicate which setting has been selected. Check the seed packet to determine the correct level needed. I would also recommend planting either the same plants, or ones with similar watering requirements.

A single red light will flash every 30 seconds to indicate the water is low and requires refilling. The rest of the time it flashes green every 30 seconds to indicate it is working correctly. So this is a pretty fool- proof system!

The bioight will automatically switch on for 16 hours then off for 8 hours. The timing can be adjusted by using pressing a button on the base. If you turn it off, it will remain off for 8 hours then automatically turn on for 16 hours, back off for 8 hours and so on. If you turn it on, it will stay on for 16 hours, then off for 8 hours. You get the idea! It is all automatic, so no need to do anything.

Grofresh kitchen garden

Other Information

Grofresh kitchen garden comes in a range of colours, so you can match your kitchen decor.

You can grow most things that grow above ground (not below ground).

The hydrocels only last for one growing cycle but you can purchase more from the website. Replacement hydrocels cost £9.95.

Grofresh kitchen garden RRP: £59.95.

Purchase at wizal.co.uk

Grofresh advert

Our Verdict

The Grofresh kitchen garden is so very straightforward to set up and use, it takes up hardly any space in the kitchen, and after just a few days shoots are already appearing – so it is clearly a very effective system! We love it!

Shoots growing in Grofresh kitchen garden after just a few days.

Discount

Enter code WZLKG3 at checkout to receive £10.00 off all Grofresh kitchen garden orders! Valid until end of June 2018 only.

Grofresh kitchen gardens discount code

Giveaway Time!!!!

To be in with a chance to win your own Grofresh kitchen garden, enter my giveaway via rafflecopter below! Ends 22nd July 2018. UK residents only. T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was sent the Grofresh kitchen garden for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Grange Raised Urban Planter: GardenSite’s Gardening Solutions for Small Spaces (Review & Giveaway)

As you all know, we love being outdoors in nature, and part of this includes gardening. I have written before about some of the food we have grown, or at least attempted to grow! So what do we think of our new urban planter from GardenSite? Read my review…

Grange Raised Urban Planter from Gardensite title with image of planter

About the Planter

Grange Raised Urban Planter is built using only FSC timber that has been pressure treated, and is resistant to rot and fungal decay. In fact, it actually comes with a 20 year guarantee against rot. It has six pre- divided sections to grow a selection of plants, and it also has a handy shelf underneath. The planter usually retails for £89.99 RRP but is currently on sale at £77.99 at the time of writing.

Delivery

The planter took just under a week to arrive after ordering. We were kept updated with the progress of our order and delivery details. The courier company they used was a good choice; they followed our delivery instructions, and they were friendly and helpful.

An image of all the parts of the planter pre- assembly

Assembly

The Urban Planter is very well designed so it only requires basic assembly instructions. It is very high quality thick wood, so you will need a decent power drill though; it couldn’t be done manually, or with a small basic electric drill that people have around the house to put together flat pack furniture. It took well under half an hour to assemble with the right drill.

Tip: The PDF instructions on the website are different to the paper version it comes with. Take a look to see which you find easier to follow! We personally found the website PDF version clearer.

It is worth noting that the planter is very heavy so ideally it needs two people to move around. Or assemble it in the right place!

Grange raised urban planter

Our Verdict

We really like this planter. It is really sturdy and of excellent quality. The shelf underneath is useful as storage, or even for small potted plants that like the shade.

The six sections make it easy to grow a selection of plants within a small area. It doesn’t take up too much space, so is a genuine solution for small urban gardens. Also, we often have cats hanging around our garden, so we appreciate the benefits of a raised planter!

It is not cheap but it is made extremely well and is therefore worth the cost, in my opinion; I personally would consider it decent value for money. Overall, we definitely recommend this planter!

Grange raised urban planter by GardenSite

Check out the full range of stock on GardenSite for other planters and a wide range of other garden items. I spent ages browsing their website, they have an excellent selection!

Giveaway

I have teamed up with GardenSite for one very lucky person to win a Grange Raised Urban Planter! Competition open to UK residents only and ends on 3rd June 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent the urban planter for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden

Growing your own veg is such a privilege and if you have the garden space, you should definitely make use of it. However, you do need to be careful about how you prioritize your space to get the most out of the land and bring in a good haul come the harvest.

There are some great advantages you can gain from adding green tools like rainwater harvesting to your garden, but if you are just looking for the basics, here are the things you will need.

The 3 Must-Haves for Any Vegetable Garden title with a picture of delicious fresh vegetables in a basket.

A Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is ideal for any gardener but it is a must for a serious fruit and vegetable grower. Choose one of a good size that will hold lots of tender plants such as courgettes and tomatoes as well as seedlings that need to be kept warm until they are ready to be planted out. Have a look at https://www.greenhousestores.co.uk/ for some ideas of what you could get.

With your greenhouse set up, you will be able to multiply your output easily as critters are kept away from your more tempting plants and youngsters are kept away from the frost. Your greenhouse will also come in handy over the winter when less hardy plants need a little bit more warmth.

A Compost Heap (or Two)

To grow great crops you need great soil. To have great soil, you need compost. Compost is simply a large pile of rotting materials including things like old leaves from the garden, kitchen food waste and green matter such as grass clippings. While you can certainly buy decent compost and fertiliser at your local garden centre, it seems wasteful to get rid of all the natural goodness coming from your own garden.

Making a good compost heap is very simple. All you need to do is set aside a space like a compost bin and then add in all the organic materials. Turn the heap over using a garden fork every so often to ix the ingredients as they degrade. This will also increase the amount of oxygen in the heap, fuelling the whole process.

Worms will do most of the work for you with your compost heap so make sure that if you find any around the garden, you introduce them and let them settle in. If you want to, you can also buy worms over the internet and add them to your heap.

A Plan

You might not think it, but planning a year ahead is vital for making the most of your vegetable garden and increasing your crops. From making sure that your rotate crops to give the soil a chance to recover to planting seeds at the right time so that they are ready for planting out, having a vegetable garden planner is vital.

With a bit of planning, a sensible use of space and a healthy compost heap, you and your vegetables will be as happy as Larry under the summer sun. Though you can never guarantee the best crop, with a little bit of help, you can get a little closer to perfection.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Planning Your Vegetable Garden

This is a guest post written by Tim from Yard and Garden Guru.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

There is no right way or wrong way when it comes to having a vegetable garden, although things have to be done a sure way to help your plants prosper. Vegetable gardening for beginners can be as natural as you want to make it, yet it is advisable to ease yourself into rather than becoming overwhelmed.

Your area will detect how large a veg garden you have, yet lack of size is no excuse not to give vegetable gardening a go. If you plan it right, you can have an abundance of crops even in the smallest of places. Regardless of the area and how you grow your vegetables, there are a few things that you will have to adhere to.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Location

As you will be deciding where to have your vegetable garden, it should be noted that vegetables require 6-8 hours of sun per day. To make sure they can achieve this, you choose the sunniest parts of your garden and make sure your rows face east to west. Leafy green vegetables require a little less and are not keen on the harsh sun so these can go in your not so sunny areas.

It is also advisable to have direct access to your garden from your home, this way you will see when it needs tending to.

Size is Important

The ideal space allocation you are looking for is 16 feet X 10 feet. As your rows will face east to west, this means the longest edge of the bed will face north and south. If you are limited for a space of this size, you can scale it down or use raised beds. The critical thing to remember is that your rows are 18 inches apart.

Raised beds, on the other hand, should be 8 feet by 4 feet, and the depth of the bed should be 10 – 12 inches.

Soil Preparation

This process will be mainly for direct planting into the earth rather than a raised bed. However, it doesn’t hurt to add some organic material as this is full of rich nutrients that will only help your vegetables.

The first stage is to remove all weeds and then turn your soil. Regular soil should have a pH of around 7. If you find your ground is below this, a good inch to 2 inches of organic material can be added. Once done you should water thoroughly and leave for 2 days before commencing.

Planting

Once you have your prepared patch, you can think about planting your seeds. Some gardeners germinate their seeds indoors and transplant, although a plant will be hardier if they are directly sown.

Growing distances are explained on the packs of seeds. You also have climbing vegetables which have to be considered. These often go on the back of your patch to catch the most sun. 

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Raised Beds

When you plan on having a vegetable garden, you always read that you should start small. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using raised beds. They might appear to require a lot more work with construction etc… Yet they do bring many benefits when compared to growing directly into your garden patch.

A few of the benefits of raised beds are as follows:

Easier to Manage – raised beds are ideal for smaller areas.

Soil Protection – as the soil is confined in the surround, it will remain soft and will allow roots to spread much more comfortable over time.

Extended Growing Season – a raised bed will warm up quicker than the ground. Irrigation is also conducted easier due to the softer soil.

Maintenance – Apart from the surround, as many are made from wood. You will have less digging and weeding to carry out through the growing season or during the growing season.

Irrigation – as the soil is much softer, the land can drain easier, and in some areas of the country, you can grow vegetables that would not otherwise grow.

Soil Preparation – Many areas have earth which is not ideal, and it requires a lot of organic material to get the pH correct. Raised beds use good quality topsoil which already has the perfect pH levels. Raised beds also make it easier to control mulch and fertilizer as the areas are defined.

Access – if you have a regular vegetable patch, you will have to define pathways. With raised beds, these paths are automatically determined by the beds themselves. They also make it easier for individuals who are unable to bend or are wheelchair bound to access their vegetables.

A healthy high yielding vegetable garden requires only a few things. Plenty of sun, adequate watering, good soil and some tender loving care. If you have all these things, you can learn the rest as you go along.

garden,gardening,fruit and veg growing,grow your own,growing food,clean eating,green living, outdoors, wellbeing

Author Bio

Tim Graham writes at the yardandgardenguru.com, and you can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

30 Days Wild- Day 6: Growing Our Own Food

We have a small area of our garden dedicated to growing our own fruit, vegetables and potatoes. Today we planted out our pepper seedlings and harvested some rocket potatoes from our GYOP project.

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Here is a video clip taken a few weeks ago of Squiggle planting the seeds (and some others too)…

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A fortnight after planting the seeds, seedlings were already growing strong.

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Squiggle gently handled the seedlings as she carefully planted them outside.

Here is Squiggle, harvesting (and then later eating!) our potatoes…

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I love her look of amazement!

For more information on the Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project, and to register now to take part in 2017, see their website www.growyourownpotatoes.org.uk

Naturally Growing Foods

We have really enjoyed discovering what fruit is naturally growing in our garden over the past couple of months, we have been lucky enough to have a delicious range of food including raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, tiny wild strawberries and crab apples. We also visited our local ‘Pick Your Own’ fruit farm a couple of times where we picked (and enjoyed eating of course!) yummy blackberries, red currents, black currents, gooseberries, raspberries and strawberries. See website http://www.hawkswickfruit.co.uk/ We now plan to expand this interest further by growing some more of our foods in the future.

Reaching up to pick crab apples from the tree in our garden
Reaching up to pick crab apples from the tree in our garden
garden growing Aug 13 (2)
Tiny wild strawberries growing in our garden
pick your own 28.07 (7)
Picking gooseberries from the fruit farm
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We enjoyed picking our own fruit from a local fruit farm