Growing vegetables in interesting and recycled containers!

We had an interesting couple of meetings this week as our two Garden groups have ‘invented’ a sub-group this month.

Our local Residents Association has a competition every other year for the best Front Garden in our area and we want to encourage some of the shared ownership houses/flats in particular, to put  a little effort into these gardens to improve the look as we walk around. Some gardens are wonderful of course, some are awful. So we created a sub-group to help people improve their fronts. We do give out certificates for best in road and prizes such as vouchers for garden sundries so there is some reward for those who undertake this hard work.

The sub-group met at my house and we agreed a poster and press release to sent out in local newsletter and then discussed what we could do in terms  of having an advice stall. We have agreed to provide some seedlings and seeds and advice at a venue and the RA has donated some soil so we are now encouraging our garden group members to plant some seeds for this event in March. The seeds were very kindly donated to us by Thompson and  Morgan so no expense there.

We thought we should help people think a little innovatively about what they use as containers if they don’t have a flower bed and so a picture of  broccoli growing well in a (no longer used by the Council) recycling box might help or a raised bed made from left-over wooden slats. We were hoping to collect lots of these from the Council but it seems they have already been recycled… I have started my seedlings off – well seeds so far – in yoghurt pots and veg trays – all about recycling you know…we thought about making pots from newspaper but that did seem hard work!

The talk got onto how to prevent the squirrels digging up bulbs and then how to stop them eating all the birdseed too. .. the squirrels in my garden jump some 10 feet to get onto the feeders – really revving up their tails and shaking with adrenalin as they prepare to jump… and the idea of chilli powder in the birdfeed was raised. Now I’m already trying this as they are very greedy those squirrels!

Someone has tried chilli around bulbs but it is washed away by the rain so perhaps not so good but they do seem to be a nuisance in some gardens – maybe feeding them birdseed prevents them digging up bulbs I wonder? We don’t seem to have that much of a problem with them that way.

Has anyone got any suggestion or photos of really interesting and recycled containers they have used? Or good looking small front gardens we can use for inspiration? Bearing in mind this is an urban area and so really pretty country gardens are not so useful. We do think that veggies in the front would be just as good as flowers and so some people are going to start some veg seeds as well as flowers but we don’t have a lot of time to plant and grow before mid-March… however, we shall give away more mature plants – if any are left over – at our AGM in May ready to plant out and beautify before judging in late May.

The group got onto other items and we heard that Thompson and Morgan are offering a prize of £500 for anyone who finds a new plant or bulb in their garden. They are hoping to breed new plants and it seems they have done this before from new strains people have ‘found’. So everyone should look out for unusual looking plants… though I think I might want a share in the final profit rather than a prize up front… can’t find details on their website though I was shown a leaflet so am sure it is real, just not publicised properly yet.

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