Exploits of a DEG gardener at home (Jill)

Do you have to have a magnificent home garden to become a DEG volunteer? Absolutely not! (Or I am here under false pretences!) I do grow lots at home – predominantly fruit trees. Oh – and lots and lots of weeds. Who knew that some of my weeds can be eaten?! I was an avid gardener in my younger days but that was a long time ago. The COVID lockdowns prompted me to take an interest in growing more food – kale, lettuce, spinach, rocket, herbs and more recently broccoli and cauliflower. Could I become self-sufficient? No way! For me being a DEG volunteer means a delightful way to spend every second Saturday morning being part of an active friendly welcoming community group and learning heaps.

Sunflowers are planted here. 2 weeks later they are 5 cm tall!

Sunflowers were mentioned in the DEG newsletter. I always miss the boat – thinking as I admire those in full bloom in others’ gardens each year that I should have planted some. So this year I have seed from the beautiful DEG sunflowers you may have seen near the library entrance (naturalised to local conditions) and planted them on 31/8/22.

Toilet paper rolls make great seedling starters.

I also have a prolific DEG cherry tomato. The one plant I was gifted cropped prolifically and continues to fruit. It occupies an area of about 1.5m x 2m. I read somewhere that you can grow tomatoes from a cutting. Let’s see if that works! The toilet-roll tubes here contain coriander seed, hopefully being raised for the upcoming DEG mini wicking bed workshop on 22nd October. (register at https://events.humanitix.com/2022-deg-herb-planter-workshop-make-mini-wicking-beds-from-repurposed-materials)

Shopping bags can be used as grow bags.

Also inspired by the DEG gardeners, I planted some of those horrendously expensive Kipfler potatoes in my raised garden bed in the hope of growing my own. Novice mistake – I have since learned that one should ‘hill up’ potatoes as they grow to increase the yield. (Thanks Tony and Chris.)  Not an option when the bed is already full to the brim. My solution is to cut an ‘X’ in the bottom of a shopping bag, slip it over the plant, and fill it with soil. We will see if that works. Two more bags are to be added. This bed also contains broad beans, rocket, spinach and self-seeded coriander. I tend not to fill beds with a single crop – I figure pests might have to work harder to find what they want in a mixed bed.

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