Wednesday, 27 May 2020

How Much Food Can One 'Old' Woman Grow.............

and still leave time for reading?


Growing food has been something I've done ever since 1978..............mainly because of wanting to be as self reliant as possible.
I've never been on any gardening courses - always trial and error at the start and what I called 'seed packet gardening' - i.e buy a packet of seeds and do what it says on the back!
This country only produces around 60% of it's food and if they can't find enough pickers and packers or if some smaller farmers go out of business due to rising costs and the new agricultural policy after brexit, then food prices will rise and there will be a shortage on the shelves and not just in this country. Some estimates say that up to 50% of the worlds population will be unemployed and hungry........Doom and gloom? Scaremongering? - I don't know. Although history tells us there have been food shortages after plagues in the past.

Whatever happens it can't do any harm to grow more for ourselves. I'm now doing as much as I can being here alone and leaving time to do other things.

My food production area here is 4 beds that are 6 foot by 12 foot, the top fruit bed which is 10 foot by 12 foot.Plus the two 6 x6 beds for raspberries and strawberries and lots of pots, a greenhouse and the fruit trees - I'm Very lucky (although we wouldn't have moved here without somewhere to grow food).

This year I'm growing aubergines, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the greenhouse. I've got onions, beetroot (sparse), early potatoes, climbing French beans, runner beans, a row of mange-tout peas, courgettes,a few leeks and 4 each of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts plants outside. The asparagus has to be left now for this year but I've had a few once a week for the last 5 weeks. In pots outside I've got 5 squash plants, 2 pumpkin plants, some lettuces and 3 tubs of strawberry plants. Plus 2 tomato plants in baskets on the garage wall.

 I'm sowing runner beans late so they will carry on until late autumn.

There are strawberries, raspberries, 1 blackcurrant and a few gooseberry bushes, a couple of small blueberry bushes in pots and my small fig tree.

 Two apple, two pear and a plum tree and 2 damson trees in the hedgerow. I also have two young apricot trees - no fruit yet.
I've also got herbs here and there.

You know how I like a list so  thought it would be interesting to keep a running total of food produced here (this may be short lived if I forget to keep a count - which is very probable)

So far   

  •  6 small lettuces (very small - as in about 8 leaves each!)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • a few asparagus spears
  • lots of rhubarb

                                
Back Tomorrow
Sue


30 comments:

  1. You are well stocked in your garden. We have doubled the size of our plot and taken control of the L-shaped raised bed around the lean-to shed which had been colonized by rampant Nasturtiums! That has Leeks, Garlic, Lettuce and Auroch growing in it now but we still have to weed the Nasturtiums out!

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  2. I think you will correct in all the above. A lovely lot of potential future food there.

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  3. We have made a start and are growing a few things. Like you I do wonder about the shortages that they are predicting.

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  4. We know what the press are like. Take it with a pinch of salt.

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  5. Mine's not nearly as impressive a list but:
    radishes
    rhubarb
    one strawberry (yesterday!)
    I don't suppose last year's runner beans and tomatoes, frozen, count, do they? < grin >

    We're still thinking small - nowhere near the variety you have - but next year we can branch out a bit, assuming we get the raised beds we are planning for.
    xx

    But there's stuff coming along

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  6. I think if we all pitched in, everyone could grow something edible to help take the strain off the system, which in coming months will be increasingly overstretched I am sure of it. Just starting a small harvest here too, but mostly it will come in a couple months.

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  7. If we can keep the birds off our peas we may just get enough to forage on whilst wandering up the garden...onions, runner beans, lettuce, tomatoes, parsnips, leeks, parsley, chives, mint, and this years family competition veg...carrots! Enough to munch on. Then there’s raspberries, strawberries, apples pears and the plum tree with exactly zero plums on it this year. x

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  8. I don't have a lot of space but I like to grow something each year. This year I have carrots, beetroot, tomatoes and some spinach(which needs replacing as it's bolted). I have strawberries too, and it looks like there will be a good crop this year.
    Whether or not there will be food shortages remains to be seen but I like that more people are being inspired to try growing for themselves. X

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  9. A working, productive garden. Well worth all the effort isn't it?

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  10. I take my hat off to anyone who grows fruit, vegetables or plants. You don't even need to have a garden. Plant pots and a packet of seeds and some compost will suffice. Great post.

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  11. I smiled at the rhubarb. At first we are all over the moon at the thought of rhubarb crumble - now anybody with it in their garden is in danger of being inundated. You are amazing with the stuff you grow.

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  12. Wow, you really growing a lot of food for one 'old' woman ... haha :-)

    During the war this country went from importing three quarters of it's food to growing over a million tons of fruit and vegetables in back gardens and allotments as well as on farms. So we could switch to that again if we wanted to, and at the very least keep the hungry numbers down in this country. Maybe growing food should be taught at more schools again, I know a few schools do.

    By the end of the war there were 1.3 million allotments in use all over the country, now there are just 250,000 with huge waiting lists for any places that come available. Those of us with even a small patch of land to cultivate for our own food production, even herbs and a few things in pots are very lucky.

    You are one lucky 'old' woman ... and so am I. (And you'll keep getting facts and figures after you persuaded me to by the Ration Challenge book!!)

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  13. You're growing lots! This is my first year as a grower and so far so good. The cheap Aldi greenhouse stood up to a weekend of northern Scottish gales, but I am glad I had attached guy ropes and weighed it down with granite blocks. I planted two trays of kale and it has all taken, far too much I think. Do you know what I should do next with it please? Thin it out presumably? How much room does each plant need and how deep do the roots grow? I am trying to be disciplined and grow more salad and peas etc at two week intervals so that not everything is ready to eat at once. My donated strawberry plants are doing really well (just need to keep the dogs away from them as they adore strawberries)! Thank you for your gardening advice.

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    1. If you have the space you could plant a small kale hedge. Pick off it all through the winter and enjoy gorgeous flowers as it turns to seed next year. Add the flowers to salads next year. They are sweetly tasty and look lovely. It's one of my favourite winter veg.

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    2. Kale will survive most weather but wind might twist them out of the ground so plant firmly. In the past we would grow about a dozen plants and that would be enough. You could stake them when it gets windy.

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  14. I'm having a try with aubergines again this year. Tried a few years ago in the greenhouse and they got grubs in. I've now planted the rest of the old packet of seeds and two have come up. The packet says you can grow them in pots outside, so I'm going to put them among the tomatoes.

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  15. I have a much smaller garden in this house but I'm trying my best to grow as much as possible. I love just popping outside for food. Every year is a miracle.

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  16. We are so lucky to have been allocated half an allotment plot at the end of last year. So far we have had lots of rhubarb and 6 radishes! We are really looking forward to eating other crops like carrots, spinach, onions, beans, apples and potatoes. I just hope we can keep them all free of pests and the bindweed which seems to be taking over at the moment ;/ You are doing amazingly well Sue x

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  17. We have a garden but nowhere to really grow food. I love rhubarb and wonder if it can be grown in pots? I'm not sure about food shortages but I wonder if we will start to eat more seasonal food like we used to. xx

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    1. You can grow rhubarb in anything, a sack, a black bag, a big pot, on the compost heap in the corner of the garden, it will grow. It is unstoppable.

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  18. I do miss growing tomatoes...thankfully, there is a great Farmer's Market here...may hope in June, late this year...also there is a gentleman who sells tomatoes all summer in front of one of his many businesses...corn too...green beans...I get my produce from the market and him...all summer...however, more fun to grow it.

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  19. Your productive garden sounds awesome. I love the satisfaction of eating things you have grown yourself :)

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  20. A lot more people are having a go this year which is fabulous. Even a window sill can grow something for self sufficiency.
    Apricot tree .... yummy.

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  21. A lot more people are growing veggies in the US this year. You can't find any seeds and even the mail order companies were scrambling trying to fill all the orders. I always plant a few things but this year I've planted a lot more and last year I started a strawberry bed so I'm looking forward to that in a few weeks. In Indiana it's been a cool wet spring so that has slowed down the growth. You'll have plenty to keep you busy with all you have going. You have car boot sales and we have garage sales. I miss those and the thrift shops. Otherwise I've been content to be home.

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