How long have you been growing food at home? Is this your first garden? What inspired you to start growing food?
I moved to Tayport about 13 years ago and was thrilled to find I had a big garden again. I’ve photos of me grubbing in the soil as an infant.. So must be in the genes! I’ve always grown something – preferably something to eat. I prefer my veggie garden to growing flowers.
Also, I’ll avoid shopping if at all possible. So, being able to go a few steps outside my back door to source fresh, organic, and free food is right up my street. I never need to worry about pesticides, food miles or even having to feed the unexpected visitors.
I got involved with PLANT about two years ago and am so excited now the Community Growing Space is imminent. I do not want a plot as my garden is large enough for me, but I am happy to be a ‘satellite’ garden and have the veggies I grow be included in the Climate Challenge Fund ‘weigh in’ towards carbon reduction targets for Tayport. I’m also happy to share any knowledge I have with others, share the seeds I harvest from this year’s crop, or to partner up with a new gardener or to encourage youngsters just as my gran did with me.
What is your gardening philosophy/main influence?
My granny and I were always in the country and she showed me wild flowers, birds nests, picked quince, brambles and making jams for our baking. I’m always content in the garden and find it a great stress buster.
Your favourite food plant to grow right now and why?
I have a Chai Plot. I’m growing chamomile and using the flower heads in boiling water for my tea. Delicious. Also have mint, spearmint, and lemon balm tea. Last trip to Gardening Scotland, I bought a white tea bush and I’m looking forward to trying that when it establishes – probably next year.
Current challenge and how you’re tackling it?
My garden is on a north facing slope and very exposed to the Tay River micro climate. The wind is problematic, so I planted a green beech hedge to shelter the veggie plot and this has been successful. We had to install rabbit proof fencing which works up to a point.
What is your go-to resource for food gardening at the moment and why?
I don’t watch much TV but make an exception for Beechgrove as they have an even more challenging site than mine. I tried to visit it recently but it isn’t that easy to track down.
What would be a single piece of advice you would give to somebody just starting to grow food in a Tayport garden?
I believe the home site visit from PLANTs growing co-ordinator was a big help. Andrew made suggestions on how I might avoid blight on my tatties by choosing different varieties and how to prune my fruit tree to remedy some leaf curl on one of my apple trees. I’d really recommend using this service if you are an experienced gardener with a growing challenge or a beginner wondering how to best use your space. You don’t need a huge space to garden.. Just a few pots or a window box is big enough for a lettuce!