It’s been a while, but we’ve got another PlantGrow Champion to welcome on board! Our latest champion to join the PlantGrow family is Claire from @sowing_at_the_stoop. She grows all her own vegetables, fruit and flowers from seed in her kitchen garden and greenhouse.
Claire is practical and pragmatic and hasn’t let barriers get in the way of her growing her own – which is one of the reasons why we asked her to join our network of champions. We caught up with her to find out how she got into gardening.
“After having an allotment that I sadly had to leave, I was looking for other ways to grow my own. Our garden was heavily shaded by a neighbour’s enormous conifers, so growing at home was never an option.
“Luckily for me, 5 years ago they removed them and my garden was suddenly flooded with fabulous natural light, so I set to work making a home veg patch. This has slowly turned into a fabulous patch with a herb garden alongside a glorious cut flower patch and a beautiful greenhouse.
“I am a novice home gardener that likes to grow food to eat as well as flowers to have in the house. I am always amazed how many different choices there are when you grow from seed, and how easy it is to do it!”
Tips for new gardeners
“If you are new to gardening, my advice would be to enjoy the process, from choosing what to grow and then watching those seedlings grow and fill your space. Try not to compare yourself to others – everyone is different .Grow what you love, whether that is tomatoes, beans, flowers or herbs.
“Never be afraid to ask a question – that’s how I got started! I was a total beginner. There are no mistakes when gardening – I still ask questions and am always learning new growing techniques.
“I am a real believer in inspiring others to grow at home. Even a pot of pea shoots on the windowsill is a taste sensation compared to shop bought salad bags! I try to grow year round – winter salad on the windowsill alongside kitchen herbs gets me through the darker evenings.”
The impact of growing organically and peat-free
“I love to grow organically and peat-free; I don’t use any chemicals in the garden. This sometimes means that I have to ‘share’ some crops with nature and it can be disappointing.
“BUT, last year I had a bees nest in my compost bin, which I took as the ultimate garden compliment! I do have slugs and snails too – the upside is we now have a hedgehog that visits the garden, so he takes care of those!
“I look for organic, eco friendly, nature friendly feed and composts so I don’t harm the insects or animals that visit, and I use eco-friendly pest deterrents if needed. Used coffee grounds and crushed egg shells are a great slug deterrent when sprinkled over the soil.
“To try and be a little more sustainable at home, I have waterbutts attached to all the downpipes and for the shed and greenhouse there is some guttering that directs all the rainwater into large buckets underneath.
“I leave a messy corner by the compost bins, old twigs and wood alongside some pine cones for bugs. I never water my lawn… Even when it’s super hot! I sow herbs in old tins with a few drainage holes in and I only grow crops that we eat. That way there’s no waste.
“I feel honoured to be asked to be a PlantGrow Champion for 2022. They are a company that align so well with the way I grow: natural, sustainable and chemical-free, peat-free and organic… What is better than that?! Good for the planet and fabulous for our gardens! Perfect!
“The PlantGrow team are a welcoming family that really believe in the power of natural, peat free chemical free growing and I am so pleased to be a champion for them.”
Why we’re championing Claire
“We have decided to champion Claire as she has inspired us to just get up and go with your gut when it comes to gardening,” Ashley Day, Sales and Marketing Director, said.
“She has great views when it comes to sustainable gardening, but not only that – she has huge care for the wildlife too! One of the main things we love about Claire is that she’s not afraid to try something new, step out of her comfort zone and share exactly what most of us are fearing when deciding what to do and where to plant. We are sure Claire will be a great influence to many others, just as she has been to us here at PlantGrow HQ.”