It’s incredibly satisfying harvesting something that you’ve nurtured from seed

It’s incredibly satisfying harvesting something that you’ve nurtured from seed

Kelly is a self-made gardener who we recently got in touch with to hear about her gardening experiences. In this blog post, Kelly begins by telling us how her gardening journey began, and how it has changed since she started.

“When I was little, my mum was a big gardener, mostly growing shrubs and flowers. Although I wasn’t interested in gardening as a child I was always outside playing while mum gardened. What I didn’t realise was how much I was learning, watching her prune, take cuttings, and seed saving.

Then at 19, I moved out and we bought a tiny house with a tiny urban backyard. I decided I wanted to try and grow something. The backyard had two raised flower beds with nothing in it. I had no clue about how to grow your plants and crops, but I bought a packet of carrots seeds for one side and broccoli seeds for the other. What I didn’t realise was the seed for gardening was sown in me too and I haven’t stopped gardening ever since.

Kelly gardening story
I think my style of gardening has changed in the past few years, since moving to the ‘no dig’ method (excluding the light over the plot so weeds can’t grow, rather than digging them up from the soil). Now I focus on the health of the soil and how that impacts the growth of my plants. We left our large garden in January 2020 and moved to Somerset, to a cottage with a bigger garden. The garden was unloved and needed some attention. In the short time we’ve been there, I’ve created a vegetable patch and a traditional cottage garden, growing some crops among flowers. I’ve never been so passionate about ‘no dig’ as I am now with such a big space to garden in. ‘No dig’ saves me time, money and doesn’t cause backache. I’ve also just taken on a small allotment plot, which of course will be ‘no dig’ too.”
Kelly gardening story

Next, Kelly shares what type of plants and crops she grows in her garden,and what she enjoys most about it.

“I grow flowers, fruit and vegetables. I love growing traditional cottage garden flowers which often get cut, and use them to decorate the cottage, but I also love tending my vegetable patch and working in my greenhouse. I’m passionate about growing heirloom varieties, and each year I add several new things to my growing list. I think it’s important to try growing new types of vegetables and let’s be honest, there’s so many to try!

There are some vegetables which I couldn’t go without growing each year and they are pumpkins and squashes. I think they are so versatile, and as a vegetarian I use them a lot in my cooking. Those vibrant colours are a welcome sight in winter.

Being outside and being with nature, it’s such a grounding and therapeutic act. It never gets old listening to the birds as I garden or the fascination when a new butterfly visits, it really does help ease stresses away. And although there are always failures and battles in gardening there are so many wins and those bring such satisfaction. It’s incredibly satisfying harvesting something that you’ve nurtured from seed.

And so, I make sure to get out and garden every weekend and on my days off! Whenever I have a spare few hours really, it’s like an obsession now and I can’t stop! On the days I work, it’s more difficult, and those days are for nothing more than watering and harvesting when needed. I do check my garden every day regardless and always try to have a cuppa outside, just to enjoy the space.”

But as all gardeners know, some things are easier to grow than others, as Kelly explains what she has found difficult when gardening. She also goes on to talk about what else she wants to try and grow, and if she has any gardening traditions.

“I think luffas are real diva plants to grow! Indefinitely struggled with them at first, but last year I successfully grew 3 large luffas and included them in homemade beauty hampers for Christmas gifts. I said I never wanted to try and grow them again, although I gave in and started growing them again this year!

There’s so many things I’d like to try and grow, I haven’t tried sweet potatoes or tomatillos before, but they can definitely be added to the list of things I’d like to try and grow next year!

Kelly gardening story

I seem to have accidentally started a tradition of sowing my chilli, pepper and luffa seeds on my birthday in mid January! At that time of year all gardeners are itching for the growing season to get started, so I scratch that itch by sowing the crops that need a longer growing season and plant them into pots on my bedroom windowsill until it’s warm enough for them to go into the greenhouse.”

Kelly is also a user of coir products, describing how and why she uses them in her gardening.

“I certainly have used coir products and I was really impressed! Aside from the fact it’s sustainable, plastic free and peat free, I found seedlings were quicker to germinate in the fluffy light medium. I especially like the coir pots for plants such as squash, who don’t really appreciate root disturbance when being planted out.”

And finally, Kelly has some tips and tricks she’d like to share with new gardeners, or perhaps those who’d like to learn a little bit more.

“Don’t  be afraid to try, or be afraid to ask! We were all new to gardening once and all of us are still learning in one way or another. The gardening community is so helpful and there’s always someone who’s happy to share some advice or tips. Things will go wrong but when things go right, the failures just fade away.”

If you’d like to follow Kelly’s gardening journey, be sure to check out her Instagram @garden_days_girl . And if you have a gardening story or journey which you would like to share, be sure to email us at .

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