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Growing your Five-a-Day

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Feb 15, 2016
GIY is extremly popular in Ireland - Image Credit James Mann Flickr

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past number of years you will be well aware that GIY is extremely popular in Ireland. From avid gardeners looking to grow foods they can’t find in shops to parents looking for a wholesome activity to do with the kids, everyone seems to be hooked. And judging by the amount of questions I have been getting over the past few weeks here in CountryLife it is safe to say that this year will be another busy year for GIY’ers.

This week we took in a delivery of Sutton Seeds and it got me thinking about the number of first time vegetable growers I have talked to over the years and the most common mistake they make. They grow vegetables that they won’t eat! You will be surprised by the number of people who will grow something because they have been told they should or they think is easy to grow but will never actually eat it. 

My number one bit of advice for anyone looking to grow their own food for the first time is to look at their weekly shopping and see what vegetables they actually eat. Doing this over a week or two will show you exactly what you should dedicate your time to growing in your own garden. 

We have all grown up listening to our parents telling us to eat our vegetables and now I find myself having this conversation with my own children. I have found that getting kids to grow their own food makes them a lot more interested in eating it. They can watch it go from a seed they helped plant in the ground to the food they get served at the dinner table. 

Seed tapes are quick an easy to useSeed tapes are a clever product on the market now that makes growing with children very easy. Seed tapes are basically lengths of biodegradable tape that have seeds perfectly spaced out along it that you plant into the ground. To plant it you just have to break up the soil surface, lay the tape down and then cover it with a thin layer of compost. 

Using the seed tape with children makes growing food very easy as you don’t have to worry about spreading seeds out evenly or thinning out. And by covering the tape with compost it is easy to keep track of your rows before the seeds start to germinate. At the moment in store we have carrot, beetroot and chards available in seed tape form to name just a few. 

The seed tape can be planted from March (once the soil has warmed up) right up until July so it would make a perfect Easter holiday activity to do with the kids. You treat seed tape in the exact same way you would normal seeds in terms of care and maintenance. To have a continuous supply of food for the kitchen you should do repeat sowings every two to three weeks throughout the summer. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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