Growing – with Camilla, Fred & Charlie

This month we are joined by Camilla, Fred & Charlie, as they take us on a thrilling gardening journey of the successes and the failures of a very novice family of gardeners, growing vegetables & fruit for the very first time.  They are part of BHOGG’s Community Allotment Starter Bed Scheme which runs at the Weald Allotment site and will be providing us with a regular update on their experiences.  Over to Camilla:

My obsession with green indoor plants began a couple of years ago. I have Pinterest to thank for that. ‘Plants for pleasure’ (my current Pinterest board) has a whopping 43 followers I will have you know. It started slowly with a ‘string of hearts’, a ‘lipstick plant’ then swiftly moved onto a giant ‘Monstera’. Then not one, but two ‘string of pearls’ which unfortunately didn’t last long in my ‘care’. In our decked garden, we have a collection of low maintenance potted plants. A couple of bay trees, a cherry blossom, an olive and huge jasmine. You could say, as a family, none of us is particularly ‘green-thumbed’.

The idea of putting my husband’s name down for an allotment came to me when I realised at weekends, he needed the exact opposite of what he does for a day job. He can be found most days buried away in a dark room, in front of a screen with no available natural light. No, I’m not married to a teenager! – his job as a TV Editor keeps him enclosed mid-week in this cave-like environment. Many other positive reasons made us want to get involved with the organic community allotments at Wealds. Our eight-year-old daughter Charlie is ‘fussy’ with eating vegetables (who’s kids aren’t?). We hoped that she will not only learn some excellent life skills but also try out some new tastes. Organic and straight out of the earth – what’s not to love right?  For myself, (in this new gardening adventure), I hope to educate myself in all things green so I can stop killing houseplants (and grow some nice food along the way too).


This is us with our brand-new allocated starter bed. Exciting! After weeks of weeding and working on the community allotment (which we still plan to do) – we finally got a small plot of our own. Well, for us newbies, it’s probably best to start small. Never imagined we would get so excited about a bit of soil! A couple of weeks ago at the BHOGG yearly spring seedling swap we managed to acquire (with some local expert help and advice) the following:

  • 3 courgette seedlings
  • 1 squash seedling
  • 3 strawberry seedlings
  • 4 peas (not sure of variety – from Alan’s batch)
  • 4 Lettice seedlings
  • 2 Shard seedlings
  • A cluster of leeks

Picture2Here goes our first planting. A courgette plant. Originally, we planted all three courgette plants too close to the corners. Apparently, they grow so big that we needed to keep the pathway behind clear of its growth. This is all new to us. Can you tell?


Charlie doing a brilliant job of watering


Halfway through planting. The courgettes, squash and lettuces are in. Charlie is keeping a close eye on her tree.


‘Charlie’s Tree’ which we still don’t know what it is but isn’t that half the fun?


And there we have it. Our now fully planted plot. What will grow successfully? what will be eaten by slugs? And what is Charlie’s mystery tree? I’m thinking it’s a raspberry plant, so she will have to eat them if it is. Yep, she doesn’t actually like raspberries or strawberries! – let’s hope this organic growing adventure will change her mind.

Tune in next month… Bye for now,  Camilla, Fred & Charlie xxx

Camilla, Fred & Charlie are part of BHOGG’s Community Allotment Starter Bed Scheme which runs at the Weald Allotment site, aiming to bring practical organic gardening skills to novices on the Council’s allotment waiting list.  To find out more, go to our Community Allotment page.





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