Introducing myself …
Happy New Year to you all. I am Penny Hemming and will be writing a regular blog for Riverford, aiming to bridge the gap between Riverford’s experience from years of growing commercially and customers growing veg and flowers at home.
The first week of the new year we had absolutely foul weather here in Devon (and countrywide I think); raining cats and dogs with high winds to boot. Gardening is the last thing one would be doing in such a deluge (spare a thought for the teams out pulling leeks in the fields), but it’s a great time for garden planning. Any keen horticulturist will be pouring over seed and plant catalogues, getting excited at the prospect of how they can improve their gardens , thinking back on past failures and maybe contemplating some different crops for the coming year. Last year was a difficult year for all of us with a severe lack of rain (would you believe it today?) and exceptionally cold temperatures too. We’re hoping for better conditions in 2012.
Boxes to grow – making it all a bit easier
Two years ago Riverford introduced the boxes-to-grow for our customers to try. These are gardening kits for both beginners and established gardeners. The boxes come with organic seedlings grown in peat blocks (very high quality, from Delfland, who grow Riverford’s seedlings), some packets of seeds and comprehensive instructions and advice on how best to prepare the ground and grow them on successfully. Customers report having a lot of fun with these in the past, and we hope to tempt more of you to try them this year.
Make use of me!
In my blog I will be suggesting what you should be doing to get the best out of your gardening, whether this is a full scale allotment, or just a grow bag or a window box. I’ll be here to answer your questions and queries and to improve the range of products we can provide for our gardening customers (I look forward to your suggestions).
I will also be running tours at Riverford for customers coming to see firsthand what we grow here and how we do it, usually followed by a fantastic seasonal meal in our award winning restaurant, the Riverford Field Kitchen.
This week’s suggestions
Have a look at what we are offering this year in our boxes- to-grow. Think about your garden and outside spaces and how you could maximize what you produce from it. You can grow an enormous amount in pots and planters so even if you only have a patio or a window sill the possibilities are endless.
How much space and time do you have? Do you want to concentrate on veg, herbs, salad, or cut flowers? If you have limited space, a herb garden is a fantastic way to boost your veg box, being able to go out and pick some thyme or coriander for that risotto. Home-grown cut flower around the house give me a constant boost in summer, and also make a more impressive present than a bottle of wine!
Next post, I will be making suggestions of the different types of containers that can be used to grow in, other than the ground (if you have limited space), how to prepare and what kit you may need, to be ready for the arrival of your box to grow.