On Growing Things

Sunday mornings here mean cleaning and shopping. At least for me they do! Last week I shocked myself at how much our weekly shop cost, and this week I was determined to do better. Even taking into account the fact that food prices are rising to crazy highs (partly because of failed wheat crops in Russia or something, and partly because supermarkets are greedy ****ers), £42 was FAR to much to spend on two people for a week. Ok so I had to buy rubble sacks (you mean thats … not … part of your normal weekly shop?) and I bought some daffodils but still.

So with a bit of planning, and taking advantage of the fact that we’ve still got lots of veg left over from last week’s shop, I managed to do the shop for £22.59. Yessss! I wrote a list and guesstimated the cost of each item before I went, and then as I went round I wrote all the prices in my notepad and totalled it before I got to the checkout. I have to carry all of the shopping home because it’s only walking distance and I make sure I pack the weight evenly and use a backpack and two strong shopping bags. Today, I managed 5kg of potatoes and 3kg of carrots in my backpack. I’m only telling you this because I’m a bit proud of that! Oh just like the photo above, I’m only showing you because I cleaned the whole kitchen today and sorted out the cupboard and it’s such a rare event for it to look that nice that I took a photo for posterity.

Apologies for being a lazy slovenly housewife ;-)

ANYWAY. Rising food prices and low wages got me thinking about growing things. I’ve always been thinking about this, but as we have a teeny tiny yard (concreted) with two gigantic dustbins that dominate half of it I’m going to have to be creative about how we do this. I want to grow things that we’ll actually eat, and that will be worth it cost wise compared to buying them. For instance, radishes are fairly easy to grow, but neither of us like them so whilst it will be satisfying to grow them it will ultimately be a waste as they won’t get eaten. Equally for carrots – we both love carrots, and it is definitely possible to grow them in pots, but they take up a lot of space and are a one time crop so it’s more efficient to buy those. But salad stuffs are something that we can do. We love salad and eat loads of it in the summer months. Soooo I am thinking about lettuces mainly, and I am thinking about growing them in hanging baskets to make best use of the space (and protect them from slugs.) Spring onions as well. Obviously I need to read up about this, but those are my thoughts so far.

Inside though, I am excited that my chives have sprouted on the kitchen windowsill. They did nothing for a week and I thought they were duff and was about to give up, but lo and behold I now have very short baby chives. Aww.

These herb pots are pretty cool, they’re £1 from Morrisons and are comprised of a paper shell like a Yeo Valley Yoghurt pot, and then a plastic lid on top that acts like a propagator. It’s all in there, you just have to plant the seeds and gently water it and then pop the lid on and hope for the best.

I have high hopes now for the coriander and wild flowers that I planted yesterday:

Do you like my little bowls? WELL they are cat bowls! Morrisons were selling them off cheap at 48p, but they went through the till at 18p! Absolute bargain. I do love a bit of Mason Cash.

Also growing on my windowsill is this ppppp … primula? polyanthus? some kind of P plant anyway. I didn’t grow it from seed, I cheated and bought it in the shop but it’s nice and cheery and a bit less out of control than tete a tetes! Makes me happy anyway.

26 thoughts on “On Growing Things

  1. Looks like a Polyanthus to me and its a beautiful colour. I love your bargin buys, well done! I use all sorts of bowls and cups and saucers as planters or drip catchers. I think it makes for a more homely feel. I must venture forth to Morrisons …:)

  2. MelanieMelanie says:

    Love the herb pots, Heather! You could grow salads on your window sill too; the type that you pull a few leaves off when you need them. Or rocket. The mason cashs are great too.

  3. Liz says:

    Love your buys; we bought a box of wild flower seeds and two hanging basket seed disks which are trailing mix & petunia splendid mix from Morrisons yesterday – we just hope they look half as good as the picture on the packet.

  4. You could do some potatoes in a growbag, shake all the soil to one end and cut the top open. Roll down the plastic to make a sort of pot, much cheaper than buying pots and compost. Runner beans are ok in pots/upended growbags but you would need canes for them to grow up.
    Cut and come again salads are a great idea and if you sow a few seeds evey fortnight you’ll have salad all summer long.

  5. You could do some potatoes in a growbag, shake all the soil to one end and cut the top open. Roll down the plastic to make a sort of pot, much cheaper than buying pots and compost. Runner beans are ok in pots/upended growbags but you would need canes for them to grow up.
    Cut and come again salads are a great idea and if you sow a few seeds evey fortnight you\’ll have salad all summer long.

  6. Growing our own is something I have been looking into for a while. We have a better garden now so this year might be the year! Our shopping budget has shot through the roof aswell – I try and do it online now as I don’t spend so much on those sneeky offers that way…speaking of which, that’s where I’m off to now!

  7. Those seed pots look like an awesome (and easy) idea! We grew lettuce and spring onions a couple of summers ago and it was great – think we ate more salad then we ever have! Do you like tomatoes? If so, I’ve heard (although not tried yet) they grow reasonably easy and as well as using them fresh you can cook up big pans of pasta sauces etc and freeze it ready for winter (although that’s a long way off for you guys…let’s get to summer first!)

  8. Those seed pots look like an awesome (and easy) idea! We grew lettuce and spring onions a couple of summers ago and it was great – think we ate more salad then we ever have! Do you like tomatoes? If so, I\’ve heard (although not tried yet) they grow reasonably easy and as well as using them fresh you can cook up big pans of pasta sauces etc and freeze it ready for winter (although that\’s a long way off for you guys…let\’s get to summer first!)

  9. Those seed pots look like an awesome (and easy) idea! We grew lettuce and spring onions a couple of summers ago and it was great – think we ate more salad then we ever have! Do you like tomatoes? If so, I’ve heard (although not tried yet) they grow reasonably easy and as well as using them fresh you can cook up big pans of pasta sauces etc and freeze it ready for winter (although that’s a long way off for you guys…let’s get to summer first!) A friend just gave me a big bag of tomatoes the other week and I made up a passata – happy to share the recipe if you’d like?

  10. I’ve been popping by to visit you for a little while now, thought I’d better say hello rather than be a silent visitor! And also because I wanted to sympathise about unruly tete-a-tetes: came down on Friday morning and they’d toppled off the mantlepiece, soil all over floor cos they were so flipping tall!! haha… anyway, good luck with all your growing. We only have a small patio garden, but managed a successful crop of potatoes last year, and a few tomatoes. This year we already have onion and garlic in, and I’m planning more tatties, toms and maybe some beans too. It’s definitely possible in a small garden, let me know how you get on!

  11. penelope says:

    It’s nice to be able to grow them inside, while its still too early. I love fresh herbs and really makes a meal. My fave is Basil, and you can freeze it too, if you end up with too much!

  12. Sarah says:

    I know what you mean about food shopping bills. Am on the case for planning meals carefully and not wasting anything. Like all the things you have growing in those handy little pots on your sill. Salad is something I am going to grow this year.

  13. Hi Heather,
    It’s wonderful growing some of your own food and there are solutions for your small space. I have an article with ideas, photos and tips from one of our local magazines here in Australia. If you are interested, I’ll post it to you. I would need you postal address of course which you can email to me at randam@iprimus.com.au.
    Have a great week,
    Anne xx

  14. Hi Heather,
    It\’s wonderful growing some of your own food and there are solutions for your small space. I have an article with ideas, photos and tips from one of our local magazines here in Australia. If you are interested, I\’ll post it to you. I would need you postal address of course which you can email to me at randam@iprimus.com.au.
    Have a great week,
    Anne xx

  15. Am liking your idea of growing eddible things rather than buying them. I grew beans and tomatoes this year and have had an abundance, will have a look into some winter veggies too.
    Is there something happening with your blog??? I notice a few comments get posted more than once??!!
    x Sandi

  16. Hi Heather, the flower you have there we call here in Oregon a “Primrose”, but I’m sure there are different names around the world. And you will *LOVE* the chives! I have good news for you – they thrive in a big pot outside and will come back every year even after freezing. And they have pretty purple flowers too. I planted some when I lived on a houseboat 8 years ago and they’re still growing strong and are up now! :-)

    Your friend in Oregon

  17. Hi Heather, the flower you have there we call here in Oregon a \"Primrose\", but I\’m sure there are different names around the world. And you will *LOVE* the chives! I have good news for you – they thrive in a big pot outside and will come back every year even after freezing. And they have pretty purple flowers too. I planted some when I lived on a houseboat 8 years ago and they\’re still growing strong and are up now! :-)

    Your friend in Oregon

  18. GooD ON YOU hEATHER! Oops, caps lock…

    I’ve been writing a post in my mind about rising prices of food etc and it was nice to pop over and see we have similar thoughts…. I’m the same, top flat, no backyard and the windiest place in wellington to live, so I’ll watch with interest to see what you grow!!!

    Oh and I loved the post with the rainbow too, I wanted to e-mail you and tell you that your act of giving has had quite a big impact on me in a positive way, thank you
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  19. Dear Heather,
    please have a look at “square foot gardening” (use google). You’ll see you won’t need a lot of space to grow fruit & veg.
    And did you know that mint (mentha) and chives, although they might look dead in winter, actually will grow back next spring? and they don’t need a lot of care, just take what you need for a cup of herbal tea or salads and it’ll grow back soon enough.
    Enjoy your gardening!

  20. Food prices are ridiculous these days. We’ve been trying to be careful too, and use up tins and things from the freezer. We’ve done well for the last couple of weeks doing just that, which makes me really happy!
    I look forward to following your little veg growing adventures!

  21. Jillian says:

    Greetings from a fellow slovenly housewife ;)

    We grew tomatoes in hanging baskets last year (Tumbler variety if I recall correctly) They looked gorgeous and tasted the same. Nothing tastes as good as something you’ve grown yourself :)

  22. Growing things is one of the big reasons I can’t wait to move into our own place. Where we live now is dank and dark and the only thing that grows is a peace lily (which is, as far as I can tell, indestructable) and a palm (ditto). We won’t have a garden, but I will have light, warm windowsils and window boxes, firmly secured as we’ll be on the first floor! Like you, we need to think about getting our food costs down – I’m in awe of your shopping bill – and growing the odds and ends will nibble away at that, I’m sure.

    Look forward to seeing your flowers – the pots look like a great idea.

  23. melissa says:

    49 Pounds for food?? that works out to about…$60 or there abouts? oh Lord I wish I could get out of the store that cheap! I have 3 in the house, and I spend about $500 a month. I guess stuff is more expensive here in the states.

  24. ammienoot says:

    Growing veggies is an excellent idea – I’ve been doing it for a few years now and it makes such a difference. If you can find a sheltered spot in which to stick a plastic tub, I would certainly suggest growing courgettes outside. Grab a big plastic pot from your local Poundstretcher. Even a single courgette plant should provide two people with just about more courgettes than you could eat.

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