A novice's guide to producing his own food


More digging, more planting

Check out those farmer's hands. Who needs a shovel?
Check out those farmer’s hands. Who needs a shovel?


Before we go any further, I want to show you this. It’s me! I felt if anyone was going to read this blog, they’d want to know what I look like. So, here goes: 

Two beds were planted but two remained empty. The idea was I should fill the last two with root crops and legumes. However, I’d been told by a couple of allotmenteers that carrots didn’t grow on the site. Too many pests. And, as I didn’t fancy a whole bed of turnips or parsnips, I felt at a bit of a loss. 

I came to the conclusion I’d fill the beds as best I could this year, see what grows well (and tastes good) and be more systematic in 2010. Hopefully, by then I be a lot more knowledgable about the making the most of my patch. 

My friendly neighbour, Roy, had popped round with a whole load of goodies – a packet of pea seeds, another of kale seeds, and twelve little Brussel sprouts seedlings. The latter really got me fired up. I love sprouts, and I immediately imagined me growing some for the Christmas dinner. 

So, Janek and I popped down to the allotment for some more planting. My first job was to turn over the soil on the third bed. Digging is something that most folk balk at, but I was starting to enjoy it. Well, ‘enjoy’ is not the right word, but I could feel it strengthening my back and arms muscles, so I was glad to do it. Here I was growing my own veg, and giving myself a workout at the same time. Who needs a gym? 

Once that was done, I gingerly put the sprout seedlings in the ground, about two feet apart. The 12 seedlings filled two rows. That’ll do nicely, I thought.  

Next up were the peas. These I simply popped into finger holes and covered up. Finally, the kale seeds went in – and the third bed was full. Janek watered all three beds, and you can distinctly see his handiwork. 

Three beds planted and watered

Three beds planted and watered


While I was planting, Janek was busy on a much more mundane task, but one he tackled with relish. He was removing the roots of a rather large rosemary bush. I’d struggled with it on my previous visit, but my 14-year-old was much more successful. I felt justly proud when he finally uprooted the main part. 

Root it oot!

Root it oot!


It was time to give ourselves a pat on the back. After four visits (and roughly six hours), we’d turned over and planted three beds, and tidied up the site. We’d were over the hill. 

Once the last bed was done, it was just a case of weeding, and (eventually) reaping the fruit (well, veg) of our labour.