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Growing your own

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Mars
 Mars
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Curious to know if anyone here is growing their own veg – I've got to say, the more the world becomes unstuck, the more I'm thinking we should be growing as much of our own produce as possible. Were still getting through our own potatoes, garlic, onions and shallots from last year, and we've just finished our last pumpkin. 

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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
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Absolutely we do. Tomatoes, leeks, onions, various beans, several brassicas, carrots and courgettes are our mainstay with the rest of our growing room taken up by experiments and whims. We also have several chickens, so I often revel in the intense flavour of homemade pasta covered with a sauce of homegrown ingredients.

We also find the regular influx of caterpillars on the cabbages are welcomed by the hens. Waste not, want not….

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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(@alastair)
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The plan is to get some raised beds built in the next month or so. Thinking of soft fruit, salads, and a few root veg. But time will tell - but I defo want to get more involved in making the garden productive.


   
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 mjr
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Rabbits eat everything that's not either woody, inedible or protected here, so growing capacity seems limited. There are a couple of fruit trees and many rose bushes (although something still ate a young one of those!) and we manage to grow some tomatoes and chillis in baskets and boxes. Last year's box courgette crop was disappointing: I think they need more land. Do you have any other suggestions for stuff that can be defended from the cute fluffy locusts?


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
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@mjr, there's no real way of avoiding the inevitable IMHO. Whilst there are ultrasonic deterrents, chemical deterrents, traps and all manner of other ideas, the only reliable way I've found to keep rabbits away from your veg is a physical barrier.

We're lucky in having chickens since we've already surrounded the run with electric fencing, so protecting the veg garden is only a matter of some extra electric tape, some more suitable fence posts and joining the whole lot to the existing high voltage supply. Just like the foxes with the hens, the rabbits only try once to get through the barrier before getting a VERY uncomfortable experience which nonetheless does them no physical harm. Failing that, any kind of strong mesh fencing is fine as long as you also lay the mesh outwards along the ground for a couple of feet. That stops the rabbits trying to burrow underneath. None of the physical barriers are a cheap option, but nor are they horrendously expensive if you do a bit of judicious recycling (wood from pallets is fine for making up a picket fence, for example) even if you do have to improvise a bit to get enough height.

I would not, of course, advocate trying to trap the rabbits. Almost all forms of trapping are illegal by nature of the distress caused. One obvious exception is humane traps, but those then pose the dilemma of what to do with the rabbit once trapped.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Mars
 Mars
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@mjr, rabbits have become our biggest headache. It's taken an enormous amount of work and effort to keep the out the veg garden thanks for rolls and rolls of chicken wire. They also dig up new plants and, as you've said, even eat plants that are supposedly poisonous to them and that they shouldn't touch.

We have discovered two natural ways of keeping them at bay. We're in a very private location, so when I'm out and gardening (drinking water to stay hydrated) I empty my bladder in all the places where I've seen them digging. This has been very effective around the veg garden and they don't come back to these spots for days at a time (sometimes weeks). They obviously find new spots, so I "treat" those when I see evidence of rabbits. The problem is you need privacy and regular application (especially after rain). 

The other thing that's also worked (60-70% of the time) is applying fish, blood and bone meal around plants that are munched on or dug up. We've used this one from Westland, and it obviously also helps the plants in the long-term, so it's a win-win. 

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Mars
 Mars
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Topic starter  

How's everyone's veg coming along? Did you guys mostly buy plugs or grow from seed. Curious to know how things are going.

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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
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We've still got some leeks from over winter, and a few carrots the same. Some onions coming along nicely from early-planted sets and some over-winter cabbages, the last of which are starting to bolt. Ho, hum.

As for seed, we've got lots of tomatoes in seed trays, both plum toms and trailing cherry toms, we've half a tray full of leeks, just planted some more carrots in between the onion sets and have a few cucumber plants just germinating. Only just planted some peas and are putting together some supports ready to take some climbing french beans.

We'd have been a bit more ahead by now if it hadn't been for Eunice modifying our greenhouse, but we've a new (bigger) one arriving in a few weeks, so just in time for the tomatoes to be transplanted into grow bags ready for growing proper.

We inevitably have a whole load of other stuff still to plant but that's not work in progress yet. So many things to do now the sun's shining....

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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Mars
 Mars
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@majordennisbloodnok, sounds like everything's progressing relatively well. Good to hear.

We've direct seeded a lot and everything's coming out now, and our slug nematodes arrive this week as the slugs are beginning to nibble on our lettuce.

On a semi-related note, if anyone's looking for a natural, liquid fertiliser, we can highly recommend Ecoworm's vermicompost that has been working like a treat for us for the past two years. If you're interested, you can buy the fertiliser directly from their shop and if you use MYHOMEFARM as a voucher code at checkout you'll get 20% off your purchase. They have fertilisers for plants, trees and fruit & veg. They're a small UK business and are worth supporting. 

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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 mjr
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Posted by: @editor

Did you guys mostly bug plugs or grow from seed

We're growing from seed. What's a bug plug, does it work and why can't it be used growing from seed? Could do with something to keep these bugs away!

Seedlings are still on the windowsills waiting for no more frosts. I have no involvement beyond watering them when told. My fingers are more red than green!

Trees are more my thing but we've currently only one pear tree and one plum. Looks like it could be a bumper pear crop this year. Not sure about the plums yet.


   
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Mars
 Mars
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@mjr, that was supposed to read buy plugs - iPad always tries to figure out what I’m trying to type. Annoying.

Our fruit trees are also looking great - better than they’ve ever been.

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
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Given our greenhouse needed to be delivered and put up last year, the growing season was a bit late. However, that was last year and we're hoping to get going pretty soon on the seeds under glass this year.

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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