Thursday, 14 April 2016

IKEA LiveLagom: a mid-project update

We’re halfway through our IKEA LiveLagom project and this month we’ve been focusing on growing our own, both at home and on a friend’s allotment.

Want to find out how we're getting on with this awesome six-month project? Here goes...

In the garden, the boys have enjoyed planting herbs - basil, mint and parsley  - and a companion kit of yellow peppers and thyme, all from the Froer range. As I mentioned in this post, we’re still getting to know and understand our garden, the path of the sun across the yard throughout the day and therefore the best places to plant. We have a strange raised bed type thing behind the back door that’s filled with pebbles at the moment. As far as I can tell, the spot gets no sun at all so I’m tempted to conclude it used to be a pond but who knows? I’m no expert but I’m guessing a bed with no sun is unlikely to be a productive place for growing veg. Instead, I’m investigating some of the more shade-loving plants for here - ferns, lily-of-the-valley, hostas etc.

One big revelations is that the garden is virtually snail and slug-free which is hugely exciting (what have I become??). Moving here from a Victorian house and overgrown garden with about the worst snail population you can imagine (including our own family of house slugs), the prospect of gardening without the threat of slimy pests thrills me beyond all probability. Anyway, hostas, lupins, delphiniums and lettuce have all been pointless in the past. Now, let’s plant!

So the veg will be along the right hand wall where our strawberry tubs currently soak up the rays. The Froer kits actually require a bit of indoor germination before planting out, so we aren’t really outdoors yet other than a couple of fennel plants I bunged into the bed more for their beautifully delicate green and bronze fronds than for any future harvest.

Instead, major veg growing will take place at the allotment. My sweet friend Sam has a plot on the most desirable allotment in Bristol, its position near to Ashton Court enjoying sweeping views of the Suspension Bridge. Sam has put together a team of gardeners (we will be gardening so I will optimistically call us gardeners) to tend to the plot over the next few months and the boys just can’t wait.

On Sunday, the weather held and so we headed for the plot to familiarise ourselves with what’s already in the ground: potatoes (old and new), beetroot, red onions, broad beans, cabbage, borlotti beans, kale, artichokes, strawberries and raspberries.

Later, the boys complained of rumbling tummies so we drove out of the city to Chew Lake, Here, after a good old romp in the adventure playground, we treated ourselves to fish and chips from the spectacular Salt & Malt. Driving home, we brainstormed the plants we plan to grow, with the boys requesting cauliflower. Now I *think* this isn’t an easy one so we may have to also investigate romanesco, but I'm sure we'll work something out.

Once those crops are ready to harvest, we'll be thinking of how to preserve and store the inevitable glut later this year. Korken jars at the ready!
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