We’re spending a lot more time at home at the moment, and many people are using much of this time tending their gardens. One of the biggest grow-at-home trends is growing your own veg – which is a great idea. Nothing beats the flavour of home-grown, because it’s so fresh and still full of the maximum amounts of healthy minerals and vitamins. It’s literally eating from plot to plate. As soon as you pick vegetables, the taste and flavour starts to diminish, which is why even “fresh” shop-bought veggies don’t come anywhere close to home-grown in taste, flavour and freshness.
FOOD FEET – NOT FOOD MILES!
Many people are also worried about food miles – flying in our food from all over the world, usually picked before it is totally ready and had the chance to develop it’s fullest flavour, so that it doesn’t bruise or get damaged in transit. Grow your own, and you harvest at the peak of flavour and you’re dealing with food feet or inches! Your dinner is waiting for you just outside your back door!
Growing vegetables is also a brilliant way to entertain your children and give them something to keep them busy while they’re at home. Gardening is also used in the National Curriculum, so if you’re stuck for ideas on what and how to teach them at home – let them get their hands dirty!
GET SOWING AND GROWING
Spring is the season to make a start – and get sowing and growing. The soil is now nice and warm and seeds will germinate quickly and plants will start romping away – as long as you give them a little TLC to help them on their way.
If you’re sowing and growing your veggies in the ground, it’s important to get the seeds off to the best possible start, and here the answer literally lies in the soil. A lovely, crumbly soil that will hold plenty of moisture and nutrients is essential. So, for the best results start by digging over the soil and digging in some bulky organic matter that will create a brilliant soil structure and hold everything the seeds and plants need. Coco & Coir’s Coco Grow is perfect for this, based on natural coir. The coir helps keep the soil loose and airy, ensuring better root growth, and holds lots of water and plant nutrients. And it’s dead easy to use. Just put the lightweight, easy to carry, compressed Coco Grow coir brick in a wheelbarrow, add warm water and leave it to absorb the water. Fluff it up with a fork and you’re all ready to add it to the soil.
Then, when your crops are romping away, put a cosy, insulating layer, or mulch, of Coco & Coir’s Coco Chip+ coir on the soil around them. This will reduce the amount of watering you have to do to ensure bumper, juicy, tasty crops. It’s just as easy to use as the Coco Grow coir bricks.
DON’T CONTAIN YOUR ENTHUSIASM – CONTAIN YOUR CROPS
Don’t have a large garden? No problem! Just about every type of vegetable – and fruit – can be grown in a container. Just make sure the container size matches the growth of the plant. For instance, aubergines and peppers are perfect in 9inch pots, tomatoes in 10inch and cucumbers in 12inch. You can even grow cut-and-come-again salad leaves, mini cos lettuces, as well as stump-rooted carrots and beetroot, in a window box and trailing tomatoes in a hanging basket!
The secret to the success of growing any plant in a container is to use a good potting compost that sustains the plants right through the summer. The plants will have to get all their water and food needs from you, and good compost will make this much easier for you.
Coco & Coir’s Coco Boost has all the benefits of Coco Grow, but with all the added nutrients the plants need to get off to the best start – you’ll just need to start feeding for the rest of the summer after a few weeks and water regularly – daily during warm weather.
Just imagine, sitting on your sun lounger and, feeling a bit peckish, you reach out your hand, pick a sun-ripened tomato or strawberry and pop it straight into your mouth. Nothing is fresher and tastier – yum!
SOW, SOW, SOW FOR SUCCESS(ION)
One thing that you need to get your head around is growing the right amount of everything you need. Often people get so excited, they sow lots and lots of everything in the first week and when these are picked, they have to wait for ages before the next crop is ready to harvest. This ends in constant gluts and famines, whereas what you need is a steady supply. There’s no point growing 20 lettuce plants all in one go, which will be ready to eat at the same time – and realise you live on your own and only need one lettuce a week!
The answer is to grow little and often and successional sow. Having young plants ready to pop into the ground when the first crop is harvested will really speed up things. The easiest way to do this is to use cell trays, sowing one seed per cell, and sowing just the right number of each different vegetable you need. Grow on the young plants and plant them out when you’re ready. To make sure your young plants grow at top speed and are in tip-top condition, always sow in a good quality compost. Coco & Coir’s Coco Grow+ will give you strong healthy plants ready to eat in the shortest time. Like all the other products in the Coco & Coir range, it is easy to use and will help your plants grow to perfection.
Happy gardening – and happy, healthy eating!