Vegetable garden update: End of Feb

There isn’t much to do in the garden at the moment, apart from tidying up a little, keeping an eye on the sprouting broccoli and spring cabbages, and giving the soil in the raised beds a good dig to finish breaking up the soil after the winter frosts.

Lots of overwintering herbs, salads and greens are sprouting away in the mini greenhouse, which is doing its job really well, and will eventually provide some overspill space for any windowsill plants that get too big for their boots in late Spring.

Today I’ve been digging, lugging bags of compost around and doing one batch of planting. Late February seems to be a good time around here for planting Early Onward and Sugarsnap peas, including a few extra ones to eat as pea shoots in March and April salads.

These have both been grown in pots, and I’ve sown a variety of different radish seeds in between the peas as a catch crop, plus some winter-hardy lettuces to add ‘living mulch’ and help keep the soil moist. The three different plants are traditionally thought to grow happily together, and my gardening experience last year seemed to bear this out.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the budget for the year, and it’s going OK so far:

  • The £10 for seeds has all gone now. If I need anything else it’s going to involve bartering or swapping. Or asking nicely for a few Sunshine F1 kabocha squash seeds for my birthday – hint hint, Beau. Subtle, huh? *cough*
  • My £20 compost budget has gone too. I managed to find a special offer on some nice peat-free organic compost at Harrod Horticultural, plus a voucher code and some cashback. Managed to get 250 litres of the good stuff, very pleased.
  • The remaining £10 for ‘general garden stuff’ has had £4 spent so far. I used £2 to get some extra-long garden canes so I could grow French, runner and borlotto beans on wigwams, and a few extra to train climbing squash plants up. Another £2 went on some heavy duty weed fabric. This is partly to keep weeds down in the raised beds, but mainly it’s a last ditch attempt to stop M-Cat digging every living thing in the ground up (and crapping on it as the final insult).
  • What’s left? There’s only £6 to go for the rest of the growing season. I have plenty of pots, bird-scarers and supports, so all that’s really needed is a little fertiliser and some tomato food. Nipping out later to get a packet of Growmore granules from Poundland. Rock and roll. Woo.

I’m going for a very low maintenance, high-yield bunch of crops this year, and have been looking into all sorts of ways to stop the soil in pots drying out. I now have various water reservoirs, recycled heavy duty plastic soil covers and living mulches sorted out, and am looking forward to lots of healthy eating and not too much associated faffing about.

Edited to add: now spent the last few quid on some Growmore to rake into the soil and prepare it for planting in a few weeks, plus enough vegetable and tomato feed to last until the Autumn. Hoping to keep the garden pesticide free, and will be planting some of the three packets of wildlife-friendly seeds I’ve kindly been given to encourage lots of pollination and natural pest control.

Are you growing your own this year? What are you growing? Do you have any tips for low maintenance (but cheap) gardening? Please let me know!

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