Shared stories from our love of gardening, food and sustainability.
As we all navigate these strange times we wanted to bring you some fresh, new ideas and inspiration with a focus on self-sufficiency, taking care of each other and finding our green fingers for gardening.
Our new recruit Lucy, having grown up on a sustainable community farm, shares her thoughts below as she tackles home-growing for the first time, picking the brain of St. Eval’s first-ever employee, the beloved and wise gardener, Sylvia and also top tips from home-grower and gardening blogger Mark Willis.
Many of us are spending more time in our homes than ever before so finding a new routine can be difficult which can mean a loss of motivation, however, trying something new could give us the kickstart we need.
Whether that’s cooking a new recipe, decorating your bedroom, trying an online workout or having a go at growing vegetables? There are great ways to be inspired.
As the St. Eval team are nature lovers and many are keen gardeners too, we thought we would explore this opportunity and try new things.
I spoke to Sylvia, St. Evals first-ever employee who is not only an expert candle maker but a wise and experienced gardener, about why she loves gardening.
"Gardening has so many lovely benefits, not only is it guaranteed exercise and time outside but can also be a great family activity. Gardens are an extension of the home, a place to relax and feel safe but growing can also give a sense of achievement, boosting confidence and self-esteem."
It's a great thumbs up for sustainability and self-sufficiency too. As well as being empowering and a wonderful way to reduce stress and anxiety, growing vegetables will also help avoid unnecessary food miles which in turn reduced your carbon footprint.
Short on space? Don't worry, why not start a herb garden on your balcony or grow tomatoes or chilli's on a sunny windowsill. You can also regrow some salad ingredients from their roots by placing them in a bowl of water, such as lettuce (see below) or spring onions, just remember to change the water every 2-3 days.
For the past two weeks, I have been practising what I preach. All the St. Eval Office team are now working remotely so instead of my 30-minute commute home I have been heading out into the garden to get my vegetable patch going. I bought 'Veg in One Bed' by Huw Richards which I have found to be full of useful tips and tricks. I have planted potatoes, carrots, beetroot, cauliflower and chard.
It’s the first time I’ve ever tried to grow anything and as a keen cook, I’m excited at the thought of picking fresh ingredients to make something delicious for my family! This time has been particularly helpful with switching from working at home to relaxing at home as it forces me away from my desk at the end of the day. I’ve also had a lettuce root on my windowsill for the past few days and cannot believe how much it is growing!
Following conversations with enthusiastic family, friends and home-grower Mark Willis from 'marksvegplot.blogspot.com', I've gathered some tips below:
5 Top Tips for Beginners: Growing your own veg
- Only grow a selection of high value treats that you really want to eat
- Try and grow throughout the whole season
- Don’t overcrowd your bed and organise efficiently
- Start small, don’t try and cultivate a huge plot of ground until you’ve had a chance to see how much time and effort it takes to keep a small plot looking good and producing well
- Don’t expect perfect results the first time. Growing good veg needs practice! As time goes by, greater experience will probably lead to better results.
What to plant now?
Potatoes, Beetroot, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Summer Cauliflower, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Leeks, Radish, Turnip, Spring Onions.
What’s in season now?
Artichoke, Beetroot, Cabbage, Carrots, Chicory, New Potatoes, Kale, Parsnips, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rocket, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Watercress.
Beetroot Hummus Recipe
- 250g raw beetroot (leaves trimmed but root left whole)
- 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ tbsp ground cumin
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Natural yoghurt and fresh dill to serve
- Boil the beetroot in a large pan of water for 40mins until tender. When cooked a knife should go all the way in easily. Drain and leave to cool
- Peel and roughly chop the beetroot flesh
- Put all the ingredients into a blender, drizzling the oil in until you get the desired consistency
- Serve swirled with yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh dill
I had a lot of fun researching, growing and cooking fresh vegetables and hope you do to.
We’d love to hear your experiences, questions and any great tips you picked up along-the-way too. Chat with us on social or drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org