I love the calm of the garden or allotment

I love the calm of the garden or allotment

We recently interviewed independent gardener Kirsty, and asked her some questions about her gardening journey.

How and when did you start gardening?

My first memory of gardening is helping my dad in the garden as a child. I remember being particularly fond of his poached egg plants and of course the fresh strawberries.

What was your first gardening success?

My first success was a pot of coriander I got from the supermarket which I potted out in our courtyard. This was 2012 and I’m yet to grow coriander as successfully as I did in that tiny courtyard, honestly, it practically turned into a hedge!

I love the calm of the garden or allotment

How has your garden changed since then?

We moved into a new build in 2016 with a large-ish garden which lacked any sign of life beyond the grass the developers put down. After my sister gifted me some tomato plants, I caught the ‘gardening bug’ and built raised borders which are now filled with fruit and vegetables. In 2020 I added my first greenhouse and this year I took on an allotment.

I’ve also changed how I garden and learnt to avoid pesticides and herbicides. When I had a red spider mite infestation in the greenhouse I opted for natural predators and, while it can be a slower process, using these techniques has helped me to turn my garden into a wildlife haven, with visits from frogs and hedgehogs to name a few.

What do you grow? Do you have a speciality?

I try to grow most things that me and my family eat, and as a vegetarian, that means a good variety of food, but I particularly love growing tomatoes. My previous attempt to grow squash in 2020 was a total flop, so this year I’ve grown several varieties from seeds and – fingers crossed – I’ve got a good few squash on their way.

I love the calm of the garden or allotment

How often do you garden?

It varies by the season. In early spring it’s almost a full time job, but during the summer, I’ve spent ten minutes or so in the garden most days, and nip to the allotment once or twice a week for about an hour. As the harvests ramp up I’ll be spending more time in the kitchen preserving food for the winter months.

What do you enjoy the most?

Life can be pretty hectic with a four year old and full time job, so I love the calm of the garden or allotment. I enjoy all aspects of growing food, from sowing seeds to harvest, and whilst pests can be frustrating I love finding organic solutions.

What future plans do you have for your garden? Is there a crop/plant which you still want to try and grow?

Mushrooms! I’ve dabbled with a few mushroom kits in the past and recently I got a kit which required me to inoculate my own substrate. I’ve also picked up some books on growing and identification (don’t underestimate your local library!) and my sister recently bought me my first oyster mushroom log. My hope is that next year I can grow my own mushrooms on logs, hay bales and in mushroom beds. Watch this space!

I love the calm of the garden or allotment

Have you used coir-based products in your gardening?

Yes, this was my first year using coir, and I found the coir disks were brilliant for starting my tomato seeds. They sprouted really quickly and we’re easy to pot on without getting messy. I also used the coir cubes for my squash.

Do you have any tips for those new to gardening?

Just give it a go and have fun. Instagram has a great gardening community full of tips, however to ensure you get the right information you should also use resources like the RHS website or you can pick up some great books from your local library. If you’re ready to commit, I’d also recommend installing water butts and composting your food scraps with waste paper and cardboard to reduce costs and your environmental footprint.

If you like to hear more about Kirsty’s gardening experience, be sure to follow her on Instagram @the_greenhouse_of_lords . And if you have a gardening story you’d love to share, email us at hello@coirproducts.co.uk .

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