How does your garden grow?10th May 16 | Xpose Magazine
Lack of space doesn’t mean you can’t become a superfood mini-farmer! XPOSÉ Magazine make the most of your balcony and window sills this summer....
Ever have wistful thoughts of a garden with lovely fresh veg growing, but you’re stuck in a little shoebox, looking at your balcony, thinking ‘Ah, some day…’ There’s no need to wait for the Lotto win and the big house in the country. According to Lolo Houbein, author of One Magic Square: Grow Your Own Food on One Square Metre, “One square metre of soil makes you self-sufficient for months in pick-and-come again salad greens, up in six weeks.” Whether you want to convert a corner of your garden to a micro mini farm, or start with four or five pots on your balcony or window sills, you could be enjoying fresh, organic and outrageously tasty food sooner than you think.
PLANT RIGHT NOW
It’s a little late in the day for planting a lot of things from scratch, but garden designer Damien Keane says, “This is the ideal time of year to start growing outdoors, when the frost is gone.”
The month of May is good for strawberries, lettuce, peppers and sunflowers, which sounds just about perfect for a balcony garden. Top up with a selection of potted herbs (chives, parsley, rosemary and mint are all hardy and should survive the Irish weather when left outside–basil needs to stay inside on the kitchen window).
Damien’s top advice for the novice gardener? Drainage! “The secret with compost is to use a little bit of grit for drainage. Also, if you have window boxes, make sure to put a tray underneath so if it does get a little bit dry you have a reservoir for water. You can also get pots now which are really cool with an inbuilt reservoir.”
Damien’s top pick for the balcony gardener is cherry tomatoes; not only do they taste incredible compared to the shop-bought ones, they smell amazing when you water them and give a splash of bright colour. Damien says, “You can buy tumbling tomatoes as seedlings so you don’t have to grow from seed, and you can plant them into pots or window boxes with nasturtiums which are a beautiful edible plant with a peppery taste like rocket. Jamie Oliver often uses the flowers in cooking.”Mini glasshouse, €4, Tiger Stores
Mug, €9.60, Cuckooland.com
Copper watering can, €45, Amara.com
Bug and bee house, stg£25, Laura Ashley
If you’re interested in getting more information on gardening, Retail Excellence Ireland Garden Centres and Bord Bia have just launched a new campaign to encourage people to get gardening. So if you’re looking for more inspo, check out their website www.gromor.ie for detailed info on starting to grow a selection of different plants. And if you need a bit more encouragement, they are running a series of demonstrations in 40 garden centres across the country (listed under the events section of the website).
For more gardening inspiration check out the latest issue of XPOSÉ Magazine, on sale now.