It may not be a place of beauty…

…but we are certainly growing as much as possible in the small concrete space that is our garden.

Taking part in two national growing competitions/experiments (Grow Your Own Potatoes and Bees and Beans) has prompted me to sew seeds on specific dates and consequently we’ve been having bursts of doing lots in the garden over the last few weeks. So far we have strawberry and tomato plants growing in various pots although I admit I cheated and bought seedlings rather than growing from seed (combination of lack of indoor space to cultivate and lack of time and energy). We have however successfully grown from seed cucumber and pea plants which are doing well and ready for bigger pots. We’ve also sprouted some sunflower seeds and filled our shallow beds with pretty orange and purple flowers (marigolds and violets I think). Finally we’ve chitted and planted our seed potatoes and planted our broad bean and radish seeds for the schemes we’re participating in. The only thing left to do is find another big pot and plant some salad as I love being able to pick our own salad all summer long.

Out of the two schemes Sophia is especially interested in the Bees and Beans experiment from the university of Sussex. It is being conducted to look at the presence of bee’s in urban spaces and as you’d expect from an experiment wants all sorts of information such as size and type of growing space, specific dates on which you planted seeds and implemented the growing conditions (one plant left, one bagged and one hand pollinated) and of course, at harvest time, detailed results about your crop. I’m fascinated to see how it goes and happy to be taking part in something that might ultimately help in the preservation of our bees. For a small concrete space, our garden does seem to attract a lot of wildlife. Our feeders have been attracting a lot of birds and I think some might be nesting in the plants that are growing around the garage. I also spotted a lot of bees whilst out there yesterday.
I’m not going to lie, spending time in the garden recently has made me miss the gardens in our last two homes even more. It’s hard to be inspired by such a grotty looking space and frustrating when I’d love to grow so much more but am limited by space and stone. We’ve been given free rein to do what we like in the garden and I’ve pondered removing all the stones and replacing with turf for a bit of green space for the kids but it’s a big undertaking both financially and in terms of physical work and I’m reluctant to invest heavily in a rented garden as we don’t know how long we will be here. Our long term goal (like most young-ish couples) is to save enough to buy our own home and I’ve told Dan that my one requirement when we get to that stage will be a half decent garden. It doesn’t have to be huge but big enough for the kids to have a good outside place and for me to be able to have a reasonable area for growing. I am not going to let myself get down and sulk about our current garden though, we’ll get the most out of it that we can. And at the end of the day, we’ve got the wonderful Topsham rec minutes away, the swimming pool mere seconds away and a whole host of amazing outside places to explore just a short drive or train ride away.

What’s growing in your garden this spring? Or if you’re not particularly green fingered how have you been enjoying the recent spate of much welcomed sunshine as the seasons change?

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