Will I ever able to grow my own, asks Sheena Grant as she continues her challenge to life a thriftier existence
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It’s undoubtedly a drawback to have very little skill in cultivating vegetables if you’re attempting to live a thrifty lifestyle.
But we all have our crosses to bear. And this one is mine.
As well as being the number one thing to do if you’re looking to cut food costs, growing your own also appeals to the romantic in me. I love the idea of wandering down the garden on a summer’s day, the sound of bird song and the lazy buzz of bees filling the air, as I cut a little salad, pluck a ripe tomato or pick a handful of runner beans.
But, in my experience, the reality is nothing like the imagined idyll. All too often, the slugs have got to the lettuce, the tomatoes have been struck by some sort of blight and the runner beans have gone stringy. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’ve had more success with runner beans than anything else. But the rest is the reality of my attempts to live something approaching the Good Life.
Growing your own is not just about saving money. It’s also about knowing where your food comes from and that it has not been doused in chemicals, as well as rediscovering a relationship with the living world many of us are divorced from these days. So I’ve decided to give the vegetable patch one more make-or-break go this year.
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Despite the omens of success not being good I’m trying to stay positive. An early sowing of spinach was just sprouting when it was devoured by the local slug population and a few rows of peas didn’t germinate at all. But, on the plus side, my raspberry bushes are looking healthy and the rhubarb seems to be doing well.
I’ve dug over the failed sowings and am about to try my luck with beetroot, carrots and courgettes. But I’m at a loss to know what to do about those pesky slugs. In the past, I’ve tried everything from crushed up eggshells to hair cuttings gleaned from a bemused stylist’s salon floor. Neither worked. And I refuse to go down the chemical pellet route. It’s too hazardous to birds and hedgehogs. Any other ideas would be appreciated.
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In the meantime, I’m off to have another go at composting. My last effort doesn’t resemble soil and has been commandeered by ants....