Henry grows his own and offers tips for a window sill veg patch
Henry Wright, in Year 7, is making the most of the great outdoors during lockdown by growing his own vegetables.
The family were fortunate to be offered an allotment just after lockdown began, after they had been on the waiting list for a while. Henry, and his sister Elsa, in Year 8, started to go up daily to dig and prepare the soil. At home, they started everything off in their greenhouse, planting lots of seeds to get ready for planting out.
They enjoyed planting runner beans, peas, carrots, onions, beetroot, radishes Brussels sprouts and broccoli seeds, putting them in the beds as they were ready. Henry has also been in charge of the strawberry patch, as well as planting raspberry and blackberry bushes. He has also planted kale, cauliflower and pumpkin seeds to go to the allotment in the next couple of months, to enjoy later in the year.
He is particularly proud of the leeks he planted He also has cucumbers, tomatoes and chillis growing in the greenhouse. The cucumbers are nearly ready for picking.
Caroline, Henry’s Mum, said: “Having this safe place to go to during lockdown has been hugely beneficial. We are all doing something useful together and producing food at the same time.” Henry added: ”I love learning how food is produced and being outside as well.”
The family have shared crops with others and also preserved food for eating later. A favourite recipe at the moment is Swiss Chard picked and eaten that night before it goes droopy. They cut off the stems and chop up into small chunks before frying with a diced red onion and some pine nuts before adding the shredded leaves.
Henry has also been doing an experiment with house plants. He has been cutting off small sections, planting them in water and a sunny spot and seeing if they will grow roots, which can be then planted to make another plant. This is some gardening that just needs a window sill.
Even if you don’t have the luxury of an allotment or a vegetable patch there are many herbs and vegetables that you can tend to on window sills or in small beds in the garden. With a few pots you can still have salad leaves and fresh veg within snipping distance of your kitchen table! There are some helpful ideas on the Kew Gardens website about getting started.
Henry is pleased to share some photos showing the progress of his vegetable patch. You can see the beds being prepared; peas being planted; early harvest of strawberries and rhubarb; watering the tomato and cucumber plants; Henry with the strawberry jam he made and the chard ready for cooking; Henry with one of the houseplant cutting he’s propagating on the kitchen sill; Henry with the leeks he grew from seed and has just pricked out.
It’s really satisfying to grow your own and home-grown always tastes so much better and fresher than anything you can buy in the shops!