Growing Advice From Lavender And Leeks
25th July 2018
On 24th July the Instagram sensation Lavender and Leeks took over Grow Your Own’s Instagram. Katie shared with us her must-grow crops, allotment tips and favourite veg! Don’t worry if you missed it as you can find out her brilliant advice in this blog, so read on for Katie’s growing tips!
5 Must-grow Crops
Homegrown will always taste better and there’s nothing more satisfying then harvesting and eating your own freshly picked food. For me nothing beats homegrown potatoes with lashings of butter and some sprigs of mint. Strawberries warmed by the morning sun, gigantic butternut squashes and peas freshly picked and eaten straight from the pod, it’s simple things like this that make you happy. Of course growing crops like Swiss chard which can’t be found in supermarkets is a must, too!
Great Radish Growing Advice
Radishes are a new-found love for me and one I wouldn’t be without up the allotment. My favourite variety to grow is called ‘French Breakfast’, although there are so many to choose from. They are one of the quickest and easiest crops you could possibly grow plus they taste pretty good, too! I sow mine successionally every two weeks in an old water tank, that way you’ll get a nice steady crop of radishes throughout the year. Just make sure you keep them watered to stop them bolting and going to seed.
3 Pest-busting Techniques
Trying to keep down pests up the allotment can sometimes seem like a never-ending job, but there are ways to keep them under control. Having frogs on my allotment is great, and creating a pond was so easy to do. Every evening they head off on slug duties and for the past four years I have never had any problems with slugs on the plot! Another tip is to net your crops, I use butterfly netting over my brassicas and place 1m high mesh around my carrots to stop the carrot fly. I always suffer from black fly on my broad beans, too, but a simple mixture of water with washing up liquid can keep this under control, you just need to be vigilant and on hand to tackle them!
Top Tips For Growing Brassicas
Brassicas are a must have on the allotment and also a favourite of birds and cabbage white butterflies. Every year I put up a structure over my brassicas and cover it with butterfly netting which always does the trick. I plant nasturtiums and dill between the rows as well, they help to keep down the weeds, reduce the pests and they look pretty, too!
5 Space-saving Techniques
My allotment is rather small so I have to make use of all the space as best as I can! Growing vertically is a great way to do this, I grow ‘Munchkin’ pumpkins up my archway with sweet peas and Borlotto beans, too. I also use the three sisters method where sweetcorn, climbing beans and a squash all grow perfectly together in the same block. Containers are also dotted around my allotment to fit plants like radish, herbs and even a butternut squash inside! I also use the second growing season to its full advantage, for example when my early potatoes are harvested in goes some leeks and Swiss chard. I also plant out flowers amongst the vegetables – companion planting can help to keep down weeds and pests but it also looks pretty, plus you can harvest a few cut flowers, too!
Favourite Veg To Grow
My all time favourite homegrown veg has to be Swiss chard. It’s so easy and quick to grow plus you can’t buy it in the supermarket! I like to sow and plant out later on in the year after my potatoes have been harvested, this way the plants are less likely to bolt and go to seed in the hot summer months. Keep picking and you’ll be rewarded all year long, they’ll even survive frosts and snow!
For more growing advice, including recipes, blogs and videos, from Katie, visit her website lavenderandleeks.co.uk
Images: Katie Lane
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