Forest Garden
Grow Your Own For Life

10th January 2022

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With the clocks going back and the weather turning a little cooler, we thought it was time to catch
up with Forest Garden’s Marketing Manager Jenny Davis about the Grow Off challenge and if the
rumours are true that she’s hung up her trowel for good.

“When I was asked to take part in Forest Garden’s Grow Off challenge, I had no idea what I was
getting myself into. I had never grown my own and my garden, whilst being a perfectly good‐sized
one, was a mecca for ball sports courtesy of two small boys. In the end, I decided that the only place
that I could safely grow anything was at the side of the house which had its own set of challenges.”

“The courtyard area to the side of the house is only 12 x 12 and has two walls, and a hedge to
contend with as well as a low‐lying wall so planters were essential so too was a greenhouse as I
don’t have windowsills to start any seedlings off. I used Forest Garden’s Victorian Tall Wall
Greenhouse which is narrow and could comfortably sit against one of the walls leaving plenty of
room for other things. I have to say the greenhouse was perfect. It was small but that didn’t mean
that I needed to compromise, change the way I thought yes but having that covered outdoor space
allowed me to give my seedlings a great start and not having heaps of space taught me to stagger
the growing season.”

“In terms of crops, tomatoes were a real winner for me. The Grow Bag Planters made it so much
easier to manage the plants and they looked attractive dotted around the area. My only ‘note to
self’ would be to plant earlier as I now have a whole heap of green ones to turn into chutney. Beans
too were a real family winner and I now know that courgettes, whilst super easy to grow and
plentiful are just not for us. I also now know why cabbages are covered in netting, the caterpillars in
my garden were certainly well fed this year – lol! As for the compost that I used, everything that was
grown in Melcourt did well, other composts were sadly lacking from this experience for sure.”
So, who won?

“Suze definitely had more of everything, but I put that down to beginners’ luck and the addition of
cat fertilisation.”

“Beans and peas for both myself and for Suze were the clear winners in amount of crop but also in
the fact that our families just enjoyed eating them which was a huge bonus really.”

Would I do it all again?

“Definitely. There are lots of takeaways from this including don’t grow things that the family hate
eating and look for smaller leaved varieties so that the garden doesn’t look and feel like the Day of the Triffids. I’m looking forward to doing it all again, in fact, I already have a nicely growing crop of carrots that should be ready eat as part of our Christmas dinner this year – I can’t wait!”

A special thank you goes to Melcourt for their compost and to Thorndown Paint who have
supported this challenge.