Hello there. Golightly Gardens is back for 2016 after a bit of a delay getting started. Fortunately it isn’t too late to catch up with all the sowing and growing, because almost everything from February and March will still do well if you sow it at the start of April. [The only things you might have missed the boat on are most chillies and sweet pepppers, and some greenhouse types of tomatoes, but if the worst comes to the worst you could buy a seedling or two in a garden centre.]
I was planning on getting the food growing started during March, but unfortunately Little Cat died last month and I sort of lost heart in it all. However, ASBO Kitty is still with us so I’ll still have at least one supervisor while I’m out in the garden, and she still loves jumping around outdoors so I guess we should be making the place more fun for her to dig up.
New year, new seeds
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get proper choices of seeds from the pound shops, especially now 99p Stores have gone out of business. I’ve managed to save some seeds from last year, including borlotto beans and various flowers, but I’ve also had to admit that most of the other stocks here are pretty old and it’s time to ring in the new. I have invested in fresh seeds from MoreVeg (great for small amounts of seed at low prices – ideal for smaller gardens) and a few from Thompson & Morgan (held my nerve for the end of March and bought when they combined a seasonal sale with a 50%-off discount code).
The fresh seeds should have better germination rates than the last round of sowings, I hope. The weather wasn’t at all favourable last year, and I think that, combined with old seeds and some brutal waves of slug and snail mischief, was partly why things didn’t go 100% swimmingly. We also had some pretty severe problems with some unusual fruit flies, but I’ll write about that another time.
New budget too
As it’s getting more and more difficult to find decent seeds and other garden sundries for a good price, I’ve decided to increase this year’s budget to £60. The annual budget was held at £50 per year for the last three years, but I’ve had to invest in things like F1 seeds and all kinds of organic pest control this time around, so something had to give. That budget also has to cover things like pots, and compost and fertiliser for the container garden, and there’s no way we can make enough of our own to cover that during the year.
I’ll still be trying to grow as thriftily as possible, and come up with ways to stretch the budget as far as I can. This includes trying to maximise the productivity of the food plants, so that we can cut our grocery bills as much as possible for fresh food. Once the budget’s gone, I’m allowed to make swaps and accept freebies and gifts, as in the previous three years. I also have a garden centre voucher that I can spend – after all, it would be silly to waste that wouldn’t it?
The goals this year are:
- Replace 95% of fresh food shopping during the summer months
- Plan for some grow your own foods in winter too
- Be organic wherever possible
- Make the place look good wherever I can
Anything decorative in the garden comes out of a different budget, and as outside space is at a premium in the city I will be trying my best to make the place as pleasant and relaxing as possible. It’s a multi-functional spot (an urban cottage garden, maybe?) and we don’t want it to look too much like a badly-organised jumble sale. We use the garden for drying laundry, and also for quiet time and socialising during the warmer months, so it needs to be flexible and ideally attractive as well. A fairly tall order, but I do like a challenge….
I’ll be back soon with my 2016 Grow List. What are you growing this year, and what’s your budget looking like?