Growing advice from social media star Kirsty Ward
17th April 2019
Catch up on our takeover with Instagrammer My Little Allotment
On Tuesday 16th March, social media star Kirsty Ward (AKA My Little Allotment) took over Grow You Own’s social media accounts to share some of her favourite unusual varieties to grow, the giant pumpkin she named Big Max, her tips for growing in smaller spaces, and a whole lot more. Keep reading to re-live all of Kirsty’s photos and advice.
April is possibly one of the busiest times for growing you own, with a mix of sowing seeds, potting seedlings on, hardening off plants, planting out, weeding, watering and preparing soil - April can be pretty hectic. Even though April can be rather busy, we sometimes don’t see the ‘fruits’ of our labour until later in the year. There are two vegetables I’m always looking forward to early in the season. These two are Rhubarb and Asparagus, wonderful perennial plants with masses of versatility In the kitchen, long cropping lifespans and of course they are both utterly delicious. Even though you may have to wait a couple of years before you can harvest from these plants the wait will be totally worth it. What is the first harvest you most look forward to?
Allotments, gardens and growing spaces can be a lot of hard work so I like to keep things fun during my growing season. Last year I decided to grow a giant pumpkin and as most of you know I named him max. It was so much fun watching this tiny seed rapidly develop into a huge plant and then into a pretty large pumpkin. The final weight was 55lbs so it wasn’t quite as big as I wanted but the fun of showing the journey of big max on social media was great. Every day Max would change and it was so magical to watch, I felt like such a big kid! Of course, you can follow again this year for Big Max 2. Do you ever grow something you consider to be lots of fun?
When I first took on my allotment, in my first year I was completely unaware of the amazing possibilities of the varieties of fruit, vegetable and flowers I could grow on my plot in the UK. The first year consisted of things that I could actually just pick up from the supermarket but that soon started to change. Finding so much inspiration on Instagram and watching people grow some amazing varieties meant my ever-expanding seed collection got much bigger. Last year I explored and grew some new varieties and here are my favourite. Galeux d’Eysines squash, Pineberries, Bluemoon radish, Fiesta corn, Tigrella tomatoes and Corno di Toro Giallo peppers. What new varieties are you trying this year?
I really believe that everyone can grow their own, whether it’s something you have always wanted to try but don’t know where to start or if you think space is limited, everyone can grow their own at home. Last year on Instagram I started a hashtag called #everyonecangrowtheirown encouraging people to post pictures of what they are growing in their own spaces. You don’t need to take on an allotment or need a big garden to grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can utilise the smallest of spaces to maximise productivity. Last year I used one large 30cm pot to grow cucumbers up a trellis and then used the from of the pot to grow spinach, radish and rocket. Using small spaces and growing vertically or using wall space for planter or hanging baskets full of tumbling tomatoes; there is a solution for everyone. How do you fully utilise your space?
Edible flowers have really interested me over the past couple of years on my plot and I’m concentrating on growing lots of edible flowers throughout my plot this year. They are full of many benefits, not only can you eat them, use them for decorating cakes, making lovely ice cubes for summer tipples, but they are also massively beneficial to insects, bees and butterflies. One of my main aims on my allotment is to create a haven for nature to flourish so encouraging any kind of wildlife onto the plot is very important. My top edible flowers for growing are nasturtiums, borage, cornflowers, calendula and marigolds. Some of these edible flowers also hold fabulous properties for companion planting with some of the crops on your allotment, for example growing marigolds with tomatoes help repel greenfly and black fly. Are you growing edible flowers this year and do you have a favourite?
Want to see more from Kirsty Ward? Follow her Instagram here.
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