The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

On 10th May Brian Kidd came to give us a talk on growing different vegetables and fruit.

He started off with runner beans. We all remembered planting a runner bean on wet tissue at school and getting it to root.

He said that they are very easy to grow. Put the rooted beans into cells filled with compost and put in the light. Then  plant into the well dug soil or in a grow bag if you do not have a garden.

In the bag you can put the canes in a fan shape which can be 6ft or 8ft tall.

Next was lettuce. Brian was planting tiny seeds from a variety called “Salad Bowl”. He likes this one because it doesn’t taste bitter.

He plants one or two seeds in a cell. When they grow and have nice little leaves, then using your dibber take them out and plant into a watered soil. Then be selective, go down the row choosing only the largest tenderest leaves and cut them off with scissors.

Beetroot. Brian planted 24 seeds using two units, one seed in each cell. Water them in making sure the soil is inch down from the rim of the cell.

Beetroot plants need a sunny spot that has been well prepared and been raked before planting. Water them regularly to stop them drying out as this will make them woody. Pick the leaves by twisting rather than cutting and these can be eaten as well.

Carrots. Brian had two carrots which were passed around the Ladies Group. One looked very good, the other was not so nice.

The carrot which wasn’t so good had carrot root fly. It had holes in it and the inside was soft. Brian grows his own carrots by planting the seeds in a home made box covered with micromesh and pegs to hold it together. He uses no manure just sand. He rakes the box and it is placed on top of the ground. He sows the carrot seeds and waters them in. They need to be buried fairly deep down. Brian covers them over with the micromesh and two metre length of wood to stop the carrot root fly from getting in to them. He did all this on one occasion, and went away for a few days and heard on the news that there were high winds ‘back at home’. When he did get home, his covering which he used then had split and was blown away leaving his carrot seeds to all elements of the weather. Every carrot that grew that particular year had carrot root fly and it was a very expensive lesson for Brian. He tried again, but this time using the micromesh which is much thicker and stronger, and has had better results.

Tomatoes. Brian uses a variety called ‘Gardeners Delight’. He said that you get about 20 seeds in a packet, and you only need to plant six. Tomato plants are expensive to buy, he has seen them for 1.35 for one plant. If you are growing them in a bag you need only three seeds.

Fill a plant pot with some broken plant pot pieces put in the bottom, and add the compost. Lightly firm and water. Label and put on a windowsill. When the seedlings appear, and are large enough to be moved, then they can be removed by using the dibber into a raked ground in a warm sheltered position. The time to plant the seeds is February to April. It makes a very nice salad with the home grown lettuce, beetroot and tomatoes. Brian even suggested planting the lettuce or beetroot amongst some flowers, maybe in the front garden giving a different colour amongst the flowers which is a good talking point to visitors when walking to the front door.

Priscilla Barlow

Festival Edition 2012

St George’s Ladies Group