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21st Century Mum: Seeds of thought

What a wonderful time of the year! Now, I know Christmas has been and gone and January is full of winter blues, but I do love this time of the year when I sit down with my seed catalogues and consider what to grow for the year ahead…

This year, more than any other, means so much to me. Whilst I love pulling up a carrot, rubbing the dirt off it and taking a sweet bite in the early morning (I find this the best time to harvest, as if you harvest later in the day, the sun warms the carrots, making them more aromatic and therefore attracting more carrot fly), this year I can be sure my son will be eating locally grown, organic and sustainable produce and that has been harvested at its peak!

Nothing beats potatoes from ‘fork to fork’ in under 20 minutes. I say fork, but I usually grow mine in old compost bags and then tip the bag out when it’s time to ‘harvest’. It saves space, time and you can move the bags when and where you choose to take advantage of hot or even cooler spots depending on the weather!

Back to my lovely pile of catalogues, this year I silently vow to myself to ensure not to get off the beaten path and be distracted with horticultural adventures of a purely fanciful nature! I love heritage seeds and won’t buy hybrid ones that makes seed saving futile, but I sometimes buy things just to keep them being grown by someone! I will only grow what we plan to eat and store as I this year I hope to also create a root cellar for the winter, to store some family favourites, as well as the usual canning and freezing.

The Food Garden Planner
In my endeavours to really plan it out – I am applying the business side of my brain, I’ve roughly calculated what output I would like, estimated based on previous seasons how much I need to plant. However, most of all this year I have the Food Garden Planner on my side!

This wonderful tool is helping me plot out exactly what, exactly where and how much space I need to allocate as this is one of my biggest issues as demonstrated by last years squash bonanza – I have no idea what the gardening version of having eyes bigger than your belly, but I have a bigger seed stash then space, that’s for sure! So far, I’ve struggled to find someone who wishes to do a seed swap, but I’m working on it much harder for this season!

We have more than one growing patch and I have multiple plans that reflect this which are easy to view and manage. By entering your local postcode it even calculates important frost dates!

One of my favourite features of this online tool is that you can easily allow for follow-on crops – which is just one way of saying that after I’ve pulled up my lettuce or whatever, I can sow some quick grow items like radishes in the empty gaps!

Be warned dear reader – once you have eaten something home grown, even just tomatoes grown from a hanging basket; you will be smitten! You have been warned…

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About the author
Working from home, Becky is a self employed mum who divides her time between work, baby and the household! Her exclusive column for at home features the adventures, joys and struggles of being both a breadwinner and the breadmaker of the house. With articles to make you laugh and guide you through motherhood (whilst trying not to go too crazy!), Becky also writes for www.21stcenturymum.co.uk.

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