Extreme Gardening

“Extreme gardening?” I hear you cry. “How can I garden in an extreme fashion in such a small space?” Well, as Ray Mears Extreme Housewife, my duty is to tell you that extreme gardening is simple, even with those who only have space for pots or window boxes.

Brussel Sprouts – for Xmas innit?

In order to extreme garden, the secret is a complete lack of planning. Grow more seedlings that you will possibly be able to accommodate in the space you have available. Plant lots of different types of food, just because you had a day where you set aside time to get your seeds going, and then when you had probably planted enough, you felt like planting a few more.


This is what I did 3 weeks ago and now most things are starting to come along nicely. The parsnips haven’t germinated yet, but I’ll give them at least another week or two as they’re renowned slow starters. I see my first melon is just poking through, which gives me hope that I’m early enough to actually get fruit this year! The carrots in the greenhouse have started well, but the ones in the pots and main beds have been a bit chilly I think.

There is evidence of spring onions in deep pots, some healthy brussel sprout seedlings in the main bed and all of my random flower seedlings for the front garden are making a strong start. No sign of leeks and peas just yet, but they haven’t been in the mini greenhouse. I’m getting quite excited about the potatoes in the potato bag that we got from the poundshop. They have really put out a whole bunch of very strong shoots, in fact they’re nearly ready for the first bit of soil to be added to force them upwards and fruit more.

Sweetcorn and swedes (this is not all the swedes lol)

Then there are my sweetcorn and swede seedlings. These are coming on very strongly. I moved them out of my epically full tray of seeds last week and potted them up into medium pots. The sweetcorn look like they’re pretty much ready to go out in the garden now, but I think I’ll keep them to next weekend, harden them off at the end of the week and then get them planted in the border on the weekend, if the weather is fine enough.

Look! Blackcurrant buds!

And finally, my 99p blackcurrant bush from Wilkos is showing signs of action! We bought it two years ago. The first year it did next to nothing. Last year it shot up and really bushed out, but no fruit. And now – huzzah! – there are flower buds coming through. My evil plan to get free fruit looks like it might be about to pay off!

So, do I have enough space to plant all of these lovely plants out when they get big enough? No, I don’t. But that’s not the point. I shall continue to pot them on or plant them out as the fancy takes me. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll desperately sift compost to fill up any spare plantpot until greenhouse, patio and possibly drive is full. That’s how it goes. Another week and I’ll be planting beans and also courgettes – and they were monsters last year. But that is the joy of extreme gardening. Why plan it all and have less, when you can pack it to the rafters and spend summer surrounded by lovely plants and lovely food!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.