Home-Grown Food – From Meadow to Veggie Patch

Creating a garden, or a veggie patch to be precise, from scratch isn’t a picnic… it’s a whole load of hard work but it is work which at the same time as being hard can also be surprisingly satisfying.

Creating a garden, or a veggie patch to be precise, from scratch isn’t a picnic… it’s a whole load of hard work but it is work which at the same time as being hard can also be surprisingly satisfying.

When we were buying our new house we knew that a part of our land would be made into usable garden space with eatable thingies growing in it. As it ended up our new home had no dedicated garden space at all. The former owners of our place didn’t grow anything besides tons of beautiful flowers including about 100 bushes of roses. They did, however, support the local bee population by having some well-developed wild meadow… All good but we needed to make the room for our veggie patch 🙂 The plan became obvious, we had to turn part of our meadow into a veggie patch!

Our preparation work began in autumn. Luckily for us, a local man in our village called Ivan owned a mini tractor and plough and was kind enough to come to us with his tractor and plough our designated field. Then nature and the harshest Bulgarian winter in 65 years did their job. Over the winter months under piles of snow, the soil began breaking down and all the wild plants and grasses turned to mulch… super, everything so far was on course for getting ready for spring.

Once the snow melted it was time for step two… rotovation. But things aren’t always going to go according to plan. The snow melted, the sun came out to play but with it came also the rain. We were told that Ivan will be able to come on the 4th day after the last rain, so we waited… One day with no rain, two days with no rain, then the rain came… and so the countdown resets and begins again… after waiting for almost 2 weeks without the needed 4-day dry stretch we decided to start to clean up the soil by hand. It was a hard task, especially for two unfit people who have never done any gardening and had spent most of the last winter chilling indoors by the fire recovering from all of last years’ stresses. But day after day, meter by meter we slowly progressed… Until finally last Thursday at about 9am the doorbell rang, it was Mimo with the good news, Ivan is on his way as today was the 4th day pass the last rains. Around an hour later of precision driving and our entire patch was all turned and cultivated.

Time for step three – root removal 🙂 After Ivan had finished rotovating the soil this task became much easier. It took us a further 3 full days to finally finish our patch. We stood at the edge and looked upon our huge area of lovely brown crumbly soil set within a backdrop of wild meadow and marvelled at the transformation and felt deeply satisfied, it was a good life moment.

At this point, we were ready for marking the veggie plots out and the essential pathways. After some arguments and lots of running about with a measuring tape, a giant ball of string and an armful of marking sticks we had completed the task and created 9 even(ish) plots plus a 10th designated for root vegetables. Happy times!

One would think that this was it, but evidently no… after we marked out our plots, it was time for the final clean-up of the soil. I was not convinced and must admit to a fair amount of whining about unnecessary extra work but Mark started turning the soil over with a spade in one of the plots, I sank to my knees and started picking up anything that shouldn’t be there. I still mumbled about the stupidity of our actions till I tried to tug a root that wouldn’t move. I blamed my exhausted arms for their lack of power and asked Mark for help. He couldn’t pull it either, so being a bloke and refusing to be beaten by a mere root he started digging, and digging and then more digging. Turns out my little root was attached to a medium sized root that was in turn attached to a giant root that finally ended in a tree stump! 2 hours of digging and pulling and just a hint of swearing and the root was out. Mark turned to me and simply said: “A waste of time hey…” I resumed picking up old roots and didn’t mutter a word. Then, at last, all the remaining roots had been picked, we raked until all was flat and smooth and we were done! All we have to do next allegedly is plant our seeds.

I don’t know if you have any experience with gardening and growing veggies but if you do, please tell me, does it get any easier? Because right about now the concept of going to the local supermarket and buying a basketful of veggies is making an awful lot of sense. We were told this is the hard part and that now until next spring it is easier, but at this point, it is really hard to believe in it.

Alphabet Project | J is for Jungle

A jungle is land covered with dense vegetation.

or at one time a nick-name for our garden 😉

This picture was taken a few months ago when there was a lot of rain in the UK and cutting the lawn with an electric lawnmower really wasn’t an option… but once the sun came out and with some help from Easy Shed we were able to get it under control yet again…

Alphabet Project  J is for Jungle

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

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Review – gardening must haves – Gro-Sure, Resolva & Aftercut

Gardening must haves – Gro-Sure, Resolva & Aftercut

I have received three products all of which are supposed to help me keep my garden neat and tidy this season. They are all different and thus they all have a different purpose.

Gro-Sure Planting Magic

Let’s start with the Gro-Sure Planting Magic

What is it?

Gro-Sure Planting Magic is 4 in 1 planting mix, which is helping your plants to grow bigger, stronger, healthier and more beautiful than ever.

How do you use it?

Firstly you need to know that this is not a soil. Gro-Sure Planting Magic is a nutrients mix which you add to your soil. Depending on the size of your plant you will need a handful of the mix… or more for a bigger specimen. The measurements and full instructions are actually provided on the back of the packaging, so all you have to do is read the “label”.

How to use Gro-Sure Planting Magic

Think about it as a “vitamins” for your plants… it might sounds silly but this is exactly what Gro-Sure Planting Magic is.

Does it work?My Gro-Sure Planting Magic Mint

This is hard to say without doing a side by side comparison planting of the same plants and watching them grow. I used it for replanting a shop bought mint, which we use in our baby potato salad. I see no point in buying it over and over again, so I decided to keep it alive and let it grow in my kitchen. So far it is doing beautifully, considering the fact that we pinch some leaves from it at least once a week. Gro-Sure Planting Magic contains 6 months of nutrients, I am not sure my mint will survive that long but for this moment it looks great and it is growing fast.

Final thoughts

Love the packaging. First of all it is re-sealable which is super handy; secondly it has a see-through side window which allow you to see the product before you buy it and third which I have already mention it has all the instructions clearly stated on the packaging.

Resolva WeedKiller

The Next product up is the Resolva WeedKiller

What is it?

As stated in the name of the product is it a weed killer. It is alleged it will kill weeds and its roots within 24 hours.

How do you use it?

The application is extremely easy, all you have to do is point and spray unwanted objects a.k.a. weeds, but be careful where you spray as it will also kill your lawn, or bushes or flowers… if you spray it, it will kill it.

Does it work?

Yes, it does.

Resolva WeedKiller in action

I sprayed these 2 test weeds at 8pm at night. Middle picture is from the next morning and the last one is from 8pm, so exactly 24h after the original application. These were not the smallest of the weeds but I wanted to see how Resolva would handle them… looking at the results I would call it job well done.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of warnings and things to consider before using it. You have to be very carefully where you spray it so you don’t accidently kill your favourite bush of roses. There is also the matter of children and pets safety – it is not safe for them, neither is it for you! So take all necessary precautions when using it, wear gloves and be careful… oh and do not let your children or pets out anywhere close to the treated area until it is totally dry. Once all the liquid is absorbed into the weed, it supposed to be safe. I am unlikely to use it in my back garden as my cats spend a lot of time there but it is very helpful on all the pathways in front of the house. Finally I am able to have a clean and weed free front of the house without hours of hard work.

Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader

Last but not least is the Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader

What is it?

Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader is a grass conditioner and a weed killer all in one.

How do you use it?

Again all the instructions are clearly provided on the packaging. You use the spreader and walk at a steady pace and let the granules drop on to your lawn. The spreader should provide an even coverage all around. Worth remembering is that the lawn needs to get some water later on in order for granules to soak into the ground, so if there is no rain, you will have to water your lawn.

Does it work?

No idea. This is actually the one product which I wanted to try the most… but I didn’t. Again, it is not pet friendly and I am not going to take any chances. Due to the nature of the product it is not going to just dry up in minutes, it will stay on the lawn for a while and I have no option of locking my cats out of the garden (ok, I could do that I suppose but I don’t really want to).

Final thoughts

I am feeling a bit disappointed that I am not able to use it. I would love to see how my grass looked flourishing after this treatment and all the weeds have disappeared but I value my pets more. My lawn takes half of my back garden and there are no fences around it to separate it. I like the idea of the product and design of the packaging… if the even spreader works as it is stated on the box it should be a pleasure to use, but I will never get to experience it… So if you tried Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader please do let me know if it works.

* I received these product for free for review purpose. All opinions about the products are honest and my own.

Battle the weeds – gardening must haves

Battle the weeds

We would all love a perfectly manicured garden, but this look doesn’t just pop up over night and it requires a lot of work. A funny thing is though, if you miss a week of gardening; this chore becomes a nightmare, especially if the weather conditions are helping your weeds grow.

Lately I have taken a break from attending to my garden… or at least this is how I am explaining this to myself…I was too busy, I was ill, there was a holiday on the way… all the excuses in the world… but at the end of the day I am left with a jungle of weeds and as the days are passing by they do not seem to be getting any smaller 🙁

So it was finally time to get out there and start my battle. I knew that I can’t do it all on my own, I needed some help – luckily Mr. Post Man brought me some lovely parcels containing much needed aids for the task ahead of me.

new tools thanks to Easy Shed

The right tools

Thanks to those lovely people at Easy Shed I have a new selection of gardening tools. Not sure if you have something called a safe spot in your house… I do… I hide things there to keep them safe, but it has ended up on a few occasions already, when I actually needed them again they are nowhere to be found… This happened to my last 2 pruners and secateurs… eaten by a black hole… I guess they are somewhere safe with the odd socks missing from my washing every week… who knows… Any way I have new tools, which made me one step closer to achieving my gardening dream.

Resolva WeedKiller

The right product

I am armed with a bottle of Resolva WeedKiller to make my task a bit easier. Yes, it can’t be used on every weed and everywhere but there are places where I can use it… I will test it and bring you a detailed review on how the product performs in action.

Gro-sure Planting Magic

The right soil

My garden is not in the perfect spot. We do not have perfect soil, so we always need to add something to the soil to give the plants a fair chance to grow. Gro-sure Planting Magic is a perfect mixture which contains 6 months nutrients and only has to be applied once a season, handy hey?

Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader

The right aftercare

Aftercut All in One Even Flo Spreader is like a grass conditioner 🙂 it kills weeds and moss but at the same time is conditions and nourishes your lawn. It is the perfect final step in achieving a manicured lawn look.

Now that you all know what I have to play with, be patients and I will bring you more shortly… I want to try them all and check if they will actually do what is stated on the “tin”.

something to aim for
something to aim for

Do you have any gardening essentials I should know about?

* I received some of these products for free for a review consideration.