Sow what next?

How do we plan for different scenarios- with late and possibly reduced access whilst trying to grow more food or possible increased interest in our group? These are some of the questions that have come from the network- keep them coming and we will endeavour to share tips, ideas and inspiration. If you haven’t done this already it’s time to get planning (virtually-) 

What are your priorities for your setting this year? 

  • It might be to just find a way to connect together again ,  
  • to possibly grow more food, to support more people to get involved and benefit, 
  • to make your garden a more beautiful,  inspiring and healing place to be,  
  • to work more closely and consciously with nature. 

What can you grow this season? 

With support from yourselves and some top tips from Castlebank Horticultural Centre we have co created some horticultural inspiration to help with planning an unpredictable season. Do come back to us with any ideas, experience or questions 

Top tips for a slightly different growing year-  

  • If all else fails this could be the Year of Green Manure- sow a living mulch to prevent nutrient loss, add nutrient and bulk and often benefit wildlife too. Get bare soil covered and let nature do the rest. Unsure about the benefits of green manure and what to sow read more here 
  • Allow grass and other non vegetable areas to run wild, Invertebrates and insects will flourish in many an untended garden. Take the opportunity to think about which bits to focus on and where to relax a bit this year. 
  • Growing vegetables requires thorough ground work so you don’t have to come back and weed later on. This is not going to be the year to experiment! Consider trusty, known varieties that will give crops without much attention- watering or weeding- beetroot, carrots, leeks. 
  • If clearing the area is not an option plan to mulch with a thin layer of cardboard and compost and plant potatoes, pumpkins and courgettes through the mulch.  
  • Involve volunteers in growing some of these crops at home for planting out later on – for window sill growing start chilli peppers , tomatoes and leeks just now and pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers from April.  
  • Flowers-we can’t have too many can we? Many great for wildlife and to lift our spirits. Sow sweet peas now into deep pots or toilet rolls on windowsills for constant summer bunches or calendula and cornflowers straight into the soil as soon as the soil feels comfortable to touch and we able.
  • Where growing in pots and trays chose peat free compost with care, Sylvagrow comes highly recommended. Can you please make a peat/coir free recommendation? 
  • Wherever possible sow directly in situ or into a seed bed. This is much less maintenance than growing in trays and pots. 
  • Remember SF&G members receive 40% discount on Dobies seeds, more here 

There’s a multitude of information (and experience amongst you) on windowsill growing, growing together whilst apart. If you like to share or recommend something with the others please send it through. Meantime check out educational resources with Castlebank here and check out Dundee  Community Allotment Officer Kate Treharne great lockdown growing series here If you are based in an area of economic disadvantage, your group has a bank account and you need a small amount of money to pay towards providing sowing kits to keep your volunteers growing please contact asap. 

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