Allotment, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Kaitlin Krull

Thanks to the development of science and technology over the last few decades, most of us understand the importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness in the 21st century. However, it can sometimes seem impossible to bring this understanding into our day to day lives beyond the basics of recycling, eating organic foods, and using natural products. One of the best ways to bridge this gap is by growing your own edible garden at home. If this sounds like something you’d like to try but you’re not quite sure how, here are five reasons to help you make up your mind.

Grow Your Own Edible Garden

1. Learn how to live sustainably

One of the timeliest and more important reasons to grow and consume your own produce is in order to increase sustainability at home and decrease reliance on shop bought products. In addition to saving money, growing your own food also gives you control over what exactly you harvest and how often you harvest it. At Modernize, we know that sustainable living is about providing for yourself exactly what you need; no more, no less. Grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and you will be one step closer to a sustainable home life.

2. Encourage healthy eating

Plant and consume your own fruits and vegetables and you will be able to say without a doubt exactly what you are putting into your body. Choose your own produce and cultivate your edible garden without the use of herbicides or pesticides in order to achieve the best, healthiest result.

Home Grown Produce

3. It’s super simple

If you think that cultivating your own edible garden is difficult, you couldn’t be more wrong. While the process will take time, patience, and care, companies like Primrose take all the stress out of gardening with their Grow Your Own products. Simply choose from their wide variety of herb, tomato, strawberry, and other planters and grow kits, add in gardening basics such as raised beds, mini greenhouses, pots, trays, tools and watering equipment, and you are ready to begin your gardening adventure.

Indoor Herb Growing Planter

4. Save money

Sustainable living is just as much about saving money as it is about providing for yourself. By growing, harvesting, and consuming your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you will decrease your food bills, full stop. If you think that the initial financial outlay for a sustainable garden will be too high, think again. Shopping at affordable garden centres such as Primrose will give you high quality products for the lowest possible prices and help you on your way to self sufficiency.

5. Get the whole family involved

The best part about gardening is that absolutely anyone can do it. If you have young children, encourage them to get involved in your edible garden process. Kids love getting dirty, so let them help and they will learn about sustainability, accountability, and environmental responsibility without even opening a book. On top of all that, involving your children in the development of your edible garden will instill in them a love for nature and the environment that will last for years to come.

Kaitlin KrullKaitlin Krull is a writer and mom of two girls living the expat life in the UK. Her writing is featured on Modernize.com and a number of home decor sites around the web. She can also be found blogging from time to time on her personal blog, A Vicar’s Wife.

Amie, Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Planting

Recently, Alan Titchmarsh came out and stated home grown fruit and vegetables are far superior to those sold in a supermarket. The flavours, the varieties and the need to support local agriculture far outweigh the downsides of doing otherwise. To some extent, I fully agree with Alan, but I recognise the impracticality of doing this too, so I won’t judge those who don’t do this. If you have a garden, and the time and means to do so, then I fully encourage you to grow your own veg!

With a rather important seasonal holiday approaching, where roughly £175 is spent on food and drink per household, I wanted to apply this theory into growing your own Christmas dinner and research whether or not it would be possible for you at home to try this out yourselves.

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  1. Brussel Sprouts

Love them or hate them, these lookalike mini cabbages are as much a Christmas tradition as office party debauchery, Santa’s Grottos and god-awful jumpers (only kidding, I love them!). 4billion Brussel sprouts were brought in the week before Christmas last year, and the average person will consume 14 of these tasty vegetables over Christmas. Unbelievable right?

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Preparation for making sprouts begins in March, where you will need to sow them under a cloche, fleece or cold frame thinly to a depth of 1 cm, with roughly 15 cm separating them. The earlier you sow, the better the crops will turn out. You can purchase various varieties of sprouts such as ‘Evesham’ and ‘Maximum’.

Once they have reached roughly 15 cm in height, which should take roughly two to three months, it’s time to plant them out. You will need to allow 60-80 cm either side of the plants, and if you’re lucky enough to have some tall ones sneaking through, they will need support from say, a bamboo cane. Add some fertiliser and water throughout the planting process, and continue watering the plants every few weeks (especially if we’re lucky enough to see dry weather) until your plants have blossomed. Keep an eye on pests too such as birds or caterpillars.

Sprouts take roughly 35-40 weeks from initial sowing to, excuse the pun, sprout. You will have to start at the bottom of the stalk, when they are the size of cherry tomato, and firm like a walnut. The best way to remove them is to simply snap them off with a sharp, downward pull. Once frosted, the sprouts will offer a much improved flavouring. You will then need to store until December, and you have a lovely, traditional side!. If you have some spare sprouts, you could try out a new pizza topping or even Brussel sprout soup.

  1. Potatoes

The great potato, the world’s favourite root vegetable, a common addition to every roast throughout the UK. Did you know they initially originated in South America, and only reach Europe in the 16th century? Now you do.

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The best variety to use if you’re intending for a classic roast would be a King Edward or a Maris Piper; great for roasting, high on flavour and relatively easy to produce and store. Potato ‘seeds’ are commonly available online or from garden centres. You will need to sow roughly 35-40 cm apart, in rows 75 cm apart, in deep trenches roughly 15 cm underground. If you’re intending to use spuds around Christmas time, it best you plant April or early May at the latest. When you plant your potatoes, you need to try maintaining them upright, an egg box would probably be a good device to use.

Once you start to see shoots through the soil, it’s time to earth the spuds up. You will need to cover the shoots with soil, either side of the rows to form a ridge to protect them from wintry weather. If you’re worried your potatoes will be prone to frost, you can cover with a fleece for extra protection. Continue to water, especially in dry spells.

Once the leaves begin to show, and are open, it is time to harvest your potatoes. I’d advise using a fork, and going in at a 45 degree angle, so not to pierce through the pots underground.  Once dug up, they will need washing to remove the dirt, grime and any possible pesticide placed upon them, and then leave to dry for a few hours. Once dried, store in hessian sacks in a dark, frost free place until they are ready to eat in December! To add extra flavour to your potatoes, cover in salt, thyme, rosemary or garlic.

  1. Carrots

A favourite of Bug’s Bunny, and supposedly great for seeing in the dark (although this is definitely a myth!), the carrot has been a Christmas favourite for years. A member of the parsley family, carrots are low in fat and high in Vitamin A, so they’re very nutritious too.

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The best time to sow your carrots in time for Christmas is July, August at a push. Sow thinly at around 3 cm deep, allowing 30 cm between each row. The ideal soil conditions for carrots mean a nice, light, well-drained soiling, facing towards light. July and August should provide you with plenty of sunlight.  You will need to ensure the soil is stone free too, but there is the option of a raised bed if you don’t think your soil will be feasible.

If sowing in the summer time, you will need to ensure the carrots are well watered, and the soil kept moist, otherwise germination and growth will be halted. Other than that, carrots are a fairly care free plant, requiring little or no attention.

Once the frost hits, you will need to cover your carrots with straw or a fleece so not to ruin them. Your carrots should be ready to harvest in October but if you want to use them for Christmas, the later the better. You can check by lifting one or two carrots to give you an idea of their size. I suggest harvesting in the evening, to avoid attracting carrot fly, which can cause your crops to rot. You will need to store the carrots in boxes of sand, in a cool, frost free place until you are ready to cook them.

traditional xmas tree

With these three key components of any Christmas dinner ready to go, all that is required for your plate is a turkey! For this, I would recommend your local supermarket or butchers though. If you need advice on how much to serve each guest, then BBC Good Food have a simple guide on portions, but don’t let this stop you!

 

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

To see the rest of Amie’s posts, click here.

Gardening, Geoff, How To, Wildlife

My Tiny Plot

1-tinyplotGillian Carson talks through some great ideas for how to make the most of every corner of your garden or allotment, from home growing (and eating!) to creating gorgeous photo spots. She has some great recipes to try out such as banana cake and simple red currant jam, which offer some great inspiration when deciding on things to grow yourself.

Emma the Gardener

2-emmagardenerEmma Cooper shares a variety of fantastic garden related content from photos, videos, reviews to even her very own books. She has a great enthusiasm for sustainable living and gives advice on how to achieve this, with a particular focus on edibles.

You Grow Girl

3-growgirlThis blog started by author Gayla Trail, provides a great insight into the many different sides to gardening, all with a splash of humour. From tips on what to grow, gardening inspiration, recipes and other creative garden goodness, this is definitely a blog not to miss.

The Gardening Shoe

4-gardenshoeNorfolk-based garden enthusiast, Sarah Shoesmith, is a wildlife friendly gardener who posts a great variety of articles. With help from her two chickens Hippy and Herby, Sarah produces a mixture of general advice, gardening trends, tongue-in-cheek humour and beautiful photography.

John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary

5-johngrimshawJohn Grimshaw is Director of the Yorkshire Arboretum and gives personal accounts of his day to day life through the use of his blog. As a botanist and an author, he displays a great knowledge of plants and gardens, showing off many areas of rural England through fantastic high quality photography.

Secret Garden Club

6-secretgardenKerstin Rodgers began a secret restaurant in 2009 and shares her experiences, knowledge and small recipes through her blog. It is full of DIY gardening tips and planting advice with a focus on growing your very own edible garden. If practical learning is more your thing, Kerstin and Zia of the Secret Garden Club run workshops which can be booked through the blog.

The Patient Gardener’s Weblog

7-patientgardenerHelen Johnstone started her blog in 2008 to simply record how her garden developed while taking on an outdoor overhaul. Since then it has become a hugely varied blog with Helen keeping close tabs on comments and interacting with users. Posts on general gardening, weekly updates, Helen’s other interests outside of the garden (such as sewing and crochet), and her ever popular End of Month Views have certainly made The Patient Gardener a regular visit for many keen gardeners.

Floret Flowers

8-floretThe family-run business, Floret Flowers, was founded by Erin Benzakein when she and her family moved from the city to pursue the simple life in rural Washington. While the Benzakein family tend to the flower farm, the company’s online blog is managed by Susan Studer King. This blog is updated very regularly with content mainly consisting of seasonal flower trends, weekly updates, harvesting and flower care tips. The blog itself has a very professional and polished look which is complemented by the wonderful photography, most of which is taken by the Benzakeins themselves.

Garden Betty

9-gardenbettyLinda Ly is a blogger based in Southern California who goes by the pseudonym Garden Betty. Her blog began when she moved from the city to a coastal suburb of Los Angeles and outlines her experiences from garden novice to avid greenfinger. The blog is littered with DIY gardening tips, recipes and high quality photography, all of which has been incorporated into her best-selling book, which was released in early 2015. Linda keeps a great presence on the blog and can be seen regularly interacting with the users in the comments sections.

Urban Gardens


10-urbangardenIf you have a real love for gardening but limited space, Robin Plaskoff Horton of Urban Gardens could be just what you need. Her blog shares some of the weird and wonderful in urban garden design, ideal for city dwellers in tight spaces.

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Competitions, Primrose Gardens, Primrose.co.uk, Sally

We have loved seeing you vote for your favourite gardens. Thank you to everyone who participated and not to worry if you missed out this time, there will be more chances to win in the future so keep a lookout.

Now here is what you have all been waiting for, we are pleased to announce the winner of our Primrose Gardens Top Garden as voted by you is:

Teddie’s Garden Well done for taking the top spot!

And our two runners up are:

 

Congratulations Contained Contentment!
Congratulations Contained Contentment!
Well done Lyndhurst!
Well done Lyndhurst!

Teddie’s Garden has won a £25 voucher to spend at primrose.co.uk and the runners up will both receive £5 vouchers. Thanks again to everyone who entered and we can’t wait to see who will take the Top Garden title next time!

Primrose Gardens allows you to create a beautiful pictorial record of your garden where you can show off your garden to family and friends to enjoy over the years. It’s also a community of garden enthusiasts and the perfect space to discuss tips and tricks, as well as getting plants identified!

Sally primroseSally works in the Marketing team here at Primrose.

She spends most of her spare time looking into the latest developments in social media. Sally loves travel and wants to step foot in every continent in the world. When not travelling the Globe or working, she likes to relax with a bit of DIY.

She is a novice gardener and doesn’t claim to be an expert, anything she learns she will happily pass on.

See all of Sally’s posts.

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