Put the hard work in at the start

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CoirProducts.co.uk monthly giveaway returns this year, and our Grower of the Month for February is Harry (@dadandsonallotment). In this blog post, Harry reflects on how he started growing along with his dad when they got their allotment, what they love to grow, and also shares some tips with other gardeners and growers. Harry reminds us how important it is to put the hard work in at the start, but also to take your time especially if you are new to gardening or growing. Read more to find out more about Harry and his dad’s gardening journey. 

How and when did you start gardening/growing? 

I would like to start off with, I’m Harry. I’m 31. I have autism and learning difficulties. I have the allotment together with my dad Simon.

I started gardening when I was young, helping my nan and grandad in their garden. I got an allotment with my dad in November 2020, and a year later we were offered another half plot next door.

How has your garden changed since you first started growing?

When we first got our allotment, it was a total mess. We started off by collecting all the rubbish and putting it into a pile. Then we hand dug the whole allotment plot over first to get rid of any weeds and try to level the plot. Then we started to plan out how we were going to  lay out our plot. We first put in a path through the middle.

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What is your typical day like, when it comes to tending to your garden?

In winter, we cover our beds with cardboard and manure, and we put a sheet of plastic over the top to keep the weeds down. When Spring comes, we take up the plastic and then hand dig, and rotate the beds ready to start growing.

What do you enjoy most about growing/gardening?

We both like being at our allotment in the fresh air. We enjoy growing loads of different kinds of vegetables, and trying new things out.

What tips would you offer to other gardeners/growers? 

I would say put the hard work in at the start but take your time. When we first got our allotment, we put the hard work in at the start, and now we can enjoy it is not a chore anymore.

What are some of the benefits of growing your own?

Growing our own vegetables tastes so much better instead of buying it in a shop.

Have you used any coir-based products? 

No, we haven’t tried any coir-based products yet. We are both looking forward to trying some out.

What are your thoughts on becoming a sustainable grower? 

We are trying to grow all our vegetables from seed without going to the shop and buying plug plants. And we’re trying to make as much homemade compost as we can.

Anything else you would like to share?

I’d like to add, we used to do our potatoes in the ground, but they take so much ground up. So we started to do them in 30 Litres pots. They are easy to water and to pick, you just pick the pots up and tip them out in a wheelbarrow.

We have built an upside down runner bean run. Why we designed it that way is so that we can put a row of vegetables at the bottom of the runner bean run because it takes less room up and they are easy to pick.

We use organic horse bedding shredded straw to keep slugs down and to keep moisture in, and we find it useful in keeping weeds down as well.

We loved learning more about Harry’s gardening journey, and can’t wait to see what other new vegetables he and his dad would be growing. 

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