Lockdown Day 33: Victory Garden Progress

I’ve been so busy this week. But it’s not just taking advantage of the glorious weather to work on my victory garden, it has also been a coping mechanism that is helping with worry which is there hidden underneath the smiles and giggles. We all cope in different ways, whatever we do is probably the best thing for us! For me, it’s working my butt off and collapsing into bed knackered and not getting dragged into the relentless heated discussions on the Coronavirus in the media and on social channels (which I’m finding has a negative impact on my psyche). While I do spend a little time reading some scientific information and studying the effects the pandemic is having on our global supply chain including food security, I guess trying to make plans for an uncertain future is probably most at the forefront of my mind.

Today I turned a huge mound of dug up garden turf and cardboard into a no-dig bed under the back wall for potatoes. I hope to add in 10 plants there once my vege-grow topsoil arrives from Dandy’s. I don’t know if I mentioned but that area of the garden seems to be literally 4 inches of soil over a solid bed of stones and gravel.  I also now have enough space left for a second compost bin too (and it looks like I’ll need that!)

A couple of weeks ago I ordered two bundles of green willow from ‘Somerset Willow Growers’ to make wattle hurdles for the vegetable beds. First I made a couple of wigwam/obelisk type frames out of the willow which I will use for beans/peas/tomatoes so I will probably make a couple more too! I then started cutting some tree branches down to make garden stakes for the willow borders and then finally stripped the willow whips of all the extra little branches before weaving them in and out of the ground stakes. It’s very rustic looking but I love it. Have always wanted this medieval type of garden border. It takes such a long time to do though and I have three more beds that need these too!

Today I also put in 5 dwarf English Lavender bushes which are now looking down over the bottom victory garden. I hope they take and grow as it will be lovely to see more butterflies and bees. Yesterday we had all the trees cut down to head height between the neighbour and I as the tree branches were completely overhanging his garden and blocking out all the light. It means now that my garden is super sunny for veg growing. Tomorrow the overgrown flower borders have to be weeded as this is the area I’d like to grow some courgette and butternut squash.

My seedlings are growing slowly, the garlic is in and I’m chitting some seed potatoes. I still don’t know what to put in each of the small beds at the bottom of the garden but would love onions and probably carrots and maybe cauliflower. Luckily I have a little while to think about it as it might be a couple more weeks before the topsoil arrives. I put in some ‘Black Hollyhock’ seeds, ‘Blue Delphiniums’ and ‘Lupins’ into some trays so might plant those along the fence line between my neighbour and I when those come through and are big enough to transplant.

Finally, I feel like I’m beginning to get somewhere.

C xxx

Lockdown Diaries Day 16: Victory Garden Slowly Taking Shape

While there is no work and we are on ‘lockdown’ in the UK (for us that means we should only leave the house a maximum of once a day for either essential shopping/medical reasons/exercise) I am keeping myself busy just like the rest of the British population.

Luckily I have a back garden here in the home I am renting. For years I have dreamed of having a small veggie patch again and now is the time to make that dream come true and create a small victory garden. I’m certainly fairly clueless, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve grown anything apart from a few herbs and I have a BIG JOB ahead of me!

It seems there are many people doing the same and we can all be clueless together and work for a common goal of growing food for our families from the tiniest of seeds and being more self-reliant. This possibly may even provide a guaranteed supply of food (if out of the cluelessness some of us find we are more green-fingered than we thought..) and save money on buying all our produce. Every penny literally does help right now for many of us and fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits are always good to have around.

Growing one’s own, surely is one of the most ancient of survival skills? 12,000 years ago our great ancestors, hunter-gatherers began to sow and harvest seeds they had previously been collecting for food, and started growing their own. It meant that communities began to form and settle, that growing grains such as wheat and barley, potatoes (8,000 BC in the Americas) and later on domesticating animals and other plants provided a guaranteed food source and people didn’t have to move all the time. Hunter-gatherers became farmers.

Thousands of years of small communities relying on homegrown food, makes me wonder if that seemingly innate gravitation towards growing our own, providing food safety, harvesting and storing is all part of our ancient genetic memory especially during times of upheaval and uncertainty.

While I hope that it won’t be too long until I find work again to pay for my rent and living expenses, I have to say, despite the horrid and devastating crisis we are sharing globally, I am finding peace, and fulfilment in these more simpler of times. Focusing on creating, growing, baking, reading and sharing and also being grateful for every single healthy day, has brought home to me the things that are really important.

Stay calm, stay safe, stay home, C xxxxx

PS: I’ve started off Kale, Beetroot and Tomatoes in seed trays. I’ll also be growing potatoes, courgettes, peppers, onions, maybe some carrots and several herb varieties. That’s the plan! I was gifted some raspberry canes so they have gone in and I really would like to get a couple of blackcurrant bushes if possible.


The Victory Garden Project – July 11

One of the overgrown areas of the garden I'm going to clear

One of the overgrown areas of the garden I’m going to clear

What better way to get more exercise and get lots of fresh veg into my diet, than to create my very own “Victory Garden”!

At the house I am renting here in Nottingham, I’ve only just started growing a few vegetables, fruits and herbs in pots. My garden has a small lawn and I’m not sure whether the landlord would be too happy if I changed that into a wartime vegetable garden just yet, so instead I’m starting to clear a very overgrown area at the back of the garden, to re-create a small Victory Garden, and eventually supply our kitchen with most of the vegetables used in wartime recipes of the 1940’s..

I started clearing one of the overgrown areas today

I started clearing one of the overgrown areas today

I got quite excited this afternoon as I started to clear mounds of tall, thick weeds from the bottom right area of the garden, and came across a semi paved flat area which will be ideal for a small greenhouse. I can’t afford a proper greenhouse yet (although I’m keeping my eyes peeled on Freecycle) so I purchased a small walk-in poly greenhouse from Argos for 25 quid which I think will be very useful indeed.

The area I'm clearing appears to be part paved and flat so ideal for my little poly greenhouse!

The area I’m clearing appears to be part paved and flat so ideal for my little poly greenhouse!

So lots of clearing work to do, I’m not quite sure where to put all the debris, as I no longer have acres of land to dispose of branches and thorny bushes! At the moment I am moving weeds and debris from one area to the other weedy area!

I found some composters hidden in the weeds!

I found some composters hidden in the weeds!

Am looking forward to doing some research on common vegetables grown in back gardens on the home front. I do have an old leaflet on growing your own during the “Digging for Victory” campaign… thought you might like to see it. Click the images below to see full size images!

C xxxx