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‘I suppose I’m a lockdown gardener,’ says Gayton allotment-holder Jamie

In the first of a new weekly gardening feature called Jamie’s Little Allotment, Gayton’s Jamie Marsh tells us how he got into the hobby...

A lockdown gardener is what I am I suppose. Just like so many others, I was stuck at home with nowhere to go, nobody to see, all wondering what was happening to the world.

“I know I’ll go and do the garden.” Well, that’s what I said anyway.

Gardener Jamie Marsh
Gardener Jamie Marsh

I’m Jamie from Gayton, and on that very significant day back in March 2020 I decided to build myself an allotment. So there begins my Journey into gardening,

Screwing together pieces of timber I had salvaged over the years to make raised beds and cobbling together a lean-to greenhouse, stapling clear plastic sheeting onto it which were once covers from pallet deliveries.

Luckily, socially distanced deliveries were still allowed so I had a huge heap of soil dropped off from a local supplier, and after countless wheelbarrows, I finally filled the raised beds and there it was Jamie’s little allotment.

Gardening columnist Jamie Marsh
Gardening columnist Jamie Marsh

So what next? Seeds I suppose. I’d never really done much gardening, but I can remember growing up on a council estate and our family not having much money so dad had a veggie plot in the front garden. I could tell a carrot from a beetroot and a lettuce from a turnip. I guess that was a bit of a start.

So back to the seeds. The shops were all closed at this point apart from the supermarkets, and I knew they didn’t have much choice so back to the internet it was. After typing in vegetable seeds and seeing the huge amount of suppliers pop up selling such a massive selection of fruit and veg seeds I felt a bit overwhelmed.

There weren’t just the three or four types of tomatoes and carrots and potatoes you see in the supermarkets, there were literally hundreds of every vegetable you can think of. Right, what do I do? Make a list,. What do we like to eat? It didn’t take long to dwindle it down to things we actually enjoyed eating

I finely chose tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse and carrots, parsnips, onions, Swiss chard, runner beans, radishes and beetroot in the raised beds.

A few clicks later and they were winging their way to me. A few eager days passed, and those small paper packets arrived. Straight out to the garden I went.

By this time I’d read lots of ‘how to grow’ sites on the internet so obviously I was an expert now… not . Reading each seed's different sowing instructions on the rear of the packet was definitely an eye-opener. “Prepare your bed,” “make a drill,”

“sow thinly,” “water in,” “sow in trays,” “plant out,” were just a few of the new terms I had read.

But after carefully following the instructions and waiting very patiently for several long days of checking on my hands and knees for signs of life, I finally saw some tiny green shoots appearing.

The first to pop up in a lovely straight line were the radish followed closely by beetroot, chard and so on. That first year we enjoyed so many amazing veggies.

Things could obviously have been done a bit differently but all that mattered was I grew what we were eating and I’d discovered my new hobby.

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