Offgrid Living Ireland  from Dogs & Coe

From the Roots Up

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves

Mahatma Gandhi

Backyard growing seems more important than ever during this challenging time. So if you have begun to think about the idea of your own edible garden or maybe like us you are resurrecting old plots this is one way in which we can all help ourselves.

It doesn’t have to be a glamorous garden or allotment like you might see online or in magazines, in fact if you look at my pictures we use old carboard from toilet rolls for our seedlings and you can see weeds poking up as we are really great at growing those. The point is your garden is your own – with no one to tell you its wrong nor what you should grow. You should just grow what you like to eat or simply plant herbs to cook with, it really doesn’t matter as long as you love it. Simon and I are still as green as our plants when it comes to good gardening but the excitement of seeing the progress of our seedlings from first green shoots to our plates is really exciting and a bit like a soap opera with all the highs and lows.

The raised beds in progress May 2020

Perhaps you start with a small windowsill garden of microgreens or containers and pots on the front porch, maybe you could tuck veg plants in the spaces between your other plants if you already have a garden and for those who have a bit more space raised beds can create a smashing veg plot. We use the raised beds ourselves as our soil is poor and so we have to supplement the beds with manure and such like to help the veg grow.

Some fast growing leafy greens like lettuce and kale can be ready within 30 days and we have been picking ours for about a week now and they are very tasty. We also have the early potatoes going strong at the moment and we should be able to see how they have fared in about 4 weeks. The dreaded carrot though has and continues to be a bugbear of ours but we have all our fingers and toes crossed this year for carrots that grow larger than the tiddlers we got last year but only time and watering will tell.

So if you are heartily fed up of daytime TV or social media pages then why not give this a go. You don’t have to have tons of money or glowing green thumbs and if some plants fail so what – you wont be alone in that believe me. Start small this year – use your old egg boxes or spread containers, milk cartons – anything like that and then if you like it you can expand once your confidence grows. We are definitely budget friendly in this household, If it cant be recycled or built from old scrap bits then Simon just wont do it. I don’t expect the garden to look beautiful but a tomato doesn’t know the difference so I don’t worry.

We have made so many mistakes and bad starts over the last 5 years with this veg growing lark but we haven’t given up yet and even though I am certainly not one for digging in the dirt I have been able to eat some really good food we have grown and so I can honestly say that if you do start to grow your own because of this crisis we are facing I think it just might give us all a sense of our roots so to speak and allow us to feel we are fighting this virus from the Raised Beds up.

In the meantime just breathe

Steph

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.