Zanzaneet Kitchen Garden 2021

The sun has shone brightly this week and the garden is starting to produce some lovely veggies. We’ve tried to do things a little different this year with our veg garden. Here’s the beautiful produce I harvested this afternoon.

Firstly we got a bit better organised, last spring’s lockdown (in 2020) meant that it was quite hard to source vegetable seedlings so with that lesson in mind we started early and grew ours from seed. There’s something quite magical about watching a tiny seed sprout, then grow its first leaves and before you know it you have a fully-fledged plant bursting to get out of the pot and into the garden. We needed to be patient with planting out though, spring wasn’t all that warm, anybody remembers the snow in April?

The sun was pretty elusive this spring when these little plants were growing but they did well despite the minimal sunshine.
It was a challenge to nuture these seedlings, we grew from seeds in-house, without a greenhouse.

Secondly, I’ve been strict about wanting to do everything organically. Fertilizers are all plant-based this year and we’ve avoided the need for chemical pest control with a mixture of techniques like planting the right companion plant for the crop plants to deter or distract pests. We’ve also started composting all of our garden and kitchen waste, a bit scary if you’re squeamish about worms, but it’ll provide us with a big pile of fertile compost making the garden a bit more sustainable next year. More about that in a future post.

Thirdly we’ve created a little more growing space by covering a small section of the garden with a poly-tunnel. This should ripen those tomatoes properly during the short British summer. It has also enabled us to grow some plants that don’t get along with the English climate too well like aubergines. We are using compostable hemp pots here. These are good for the plants because the air that permeates the material helps to ‘prune’ the roots, stopping the root ball from crowding against the walls of the pot. Of course, hemp is good for the planet too; these pots have helped us minimise the use of plastic in the garden. It’s been exciting to watch how quickly the plants grow in their new home.

The polytunnel that Steve built for us

Gardening has a steep learning curve I feel. If you get it wrong you have to wait until next year to make amends. We are always learning about the best way to grow stuff but the whole family is having fun along the way!

We repurposed single-use plastic bottles, as saucers for the plant pots on the windowsill.

PS. We’ve still not managed to get a pea pod anywhere near our dinner table, not because the plants haven’t done well, they have, it’s just that Aarya keeps munching them straight from the pod. Don’t believe it? Just watch this video.

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