Growing Pains: The Trials And Trepidations Of The First Time Allotment Owner

Back in the 1970’s Tom and Barbara Good from the BBC sit-com ‘The Good Life’ were considered hippy eccentrics for deciding to live entirely off the land. However, as we have learned more about harmful properties contained in the pesticides and fertilisers used for growing crops, it is no wonder that their quirky idea of self-sufficiency is becoming a lot more than simply a fictional ideal.

In light of this, the demand for fresh, non-contaminated produce has meant that sales of organic goods have gone through the roof. However, some families take this one step further by growing their own crops in their garden.

Make Your Home Grown Haricots the Talk of the Town 

Growing your own produce is sometimes easier said than done and some items are certainly easier to grow than others.  Wintry conditions can damage crops as the plants are blown and buffeted in the wind. Frost damage, slug attacks and being the accidental target in a ball game can also bring an untimely end to your vegetable crop. However, just by following a few simple tips your allotment can flourish rather than flounder.

Don’t Run Before you Can Grow

If you’re a first time crop cultivator don’t be overly ambitious. Starting with hardy root vegetables such as potatoes carrots and parsnips are far more likely to have positive and tangible results. This is because they are less likely to be harmed by the elements and simply require having their surrounding soil treated with natural fertilisers such as compost or manure. Once you’ve mastered the art of root vegetables, then is the time to think about cultivating yellow courgettes or French Beans.

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Tunnel Your Way to Tremendous Vegetables

When you’re ready to move onto more sophisticated crops there are ways to avoid weather damage and grow traditionally summer vegetables all year round. The traditional greenhouse has the right idea by increasing the growing temperature and providing a physical shield; although they do take up a lot of space and involve building a complicated and permanent structure. However, modern ‘polytunnels’ have the same effect without the difficulty of construction and cumbersome nature.

Blast Those Beasties Without Poisoning The Planet

Slugs are the nemesis of the keen vegetable grower. Yet chemical repellents go entirely again the natural eco-friendly ethos of growing your own crops and can poison local wildlife. Fear not though as there are entirely natural solutions to your hungry night time visitors. If you have ready access to seaweed, in addition to enriching your soil, this will repel slugs if built up around crops in 3-4 inch piles. Placing copper gauze around planting areas, not only forms a physical barrier, but also gives the slugs a little warning shock. Finally placing pieces of lava rock around planting beds should deter garden pests as they should avoid the lacerating surface.

Jessica Lains loves gardening and grows her own crops, she had guidence from www.firsttunnels.co.uk

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/5886415278/

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