Updated: Dec 4, 2022
We asked Callum about his gardening experience and journey. This is what Callum had to say...
What was your introduction into gardening?
I blame my love and passion for gardening on my Grandparents. I grew up with two Papa's who absolutely adored their garden. I remember as a kid I'd be out in the garden with them helping to water the plants and pick the fruits from the tomato and strawberry plants. I also have really fond memories of both Papa's having greenhouses and ever since I was a kid I wanted one of my own. That dream came true last year when Mark and I plucked up the courage to buy our own proper glass greenhouse. We absolutely adore it. We are very garden proud people, especially in the summer months. Every spare minute is spent tidying it, pruning it and perfecting it to the point where we need to tell ourselves to stop, sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour. I blame this on my Grandparents too. My Papa Andrew kept a very tidy, methodical garden with lots of straight lines and neat edges. My Papa Jim on the other hand had a garden like a jungle; plants everywhere of all different types but every single one of them cared for as well as the last.
Who’s your gardening inspiration and why?
My gardening inspiration has to be Charles Dowding. He has a very easy approach towards gardening and for us his videos and articles were easy to follow as we embarked on the adventure of our own garden. Everything he does has a purpose. For example, No Dig Beds. Something I knew absolutely nothing about but nowadays I will never put down a new flower bed unless it's no dig - its good for the soil, its great for my dodgy limbs and it saves time and energy that to be honest we just don't have whilst working 9 to 5 jobs five days a week!
What do you enjoy about gardening?
Gardening to me is a mindful hobby. I suffer quite badly from anxiety and find it really difficult to switch off after a day of work. When I go into the garden I can turn that switch off, put my earphones in or just listen to my surroundings and be in the moment doing whatever task it may be that I'm completing. Favourite job definitely has to be sowing seeds at the start of the season or picking up a new plant baby to bring home; least favourite jobs are definitely weeding and watering. Again I've been researching solutions to take away the parts I hate so think I'll be investing in a weed burner wand this year and we've already purchased self watering pots for our tomatoes, peppers and herbs this year which I'm buzzing to get set up.
Tell us about your gardening experiences?
When we bought our current home we started off with a very blank slate. We were in the middle of the first CV19 lockdown and I said to my husband "I'm fed up with this garden, lets do something". So we did one job at a time and within 3 months it was completely transformed into our own little paradise. We still want to get our slabs lifted and get some proper landscaping done but we've worked with what we have and have utilised the space really well. We found that doing a wee bit of reading up and researching goes a long way to keeping plants alive that you may not be familiar with. Our first year of gardening we killed almost every new plant we bought because we were overwatering/underwatering/giving too much plant food/not enough etc so we definitely learned the hard way.
What impact do you think gardening has had on your life?
Gardening has had a massive impact on my life personally. I really have to take care of myself mentally and during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months I always find I'm calmer and more focused because I've spent that time doing something I love and I get to do that with my wonderful husband. In the Winter months when we can't get outside I definitely see a difference in how I feel. Its so important to me and we both have big dreams of what we want to do gardening wise in the future.
How do you try to manage the impact your gardening has on the environment?
We try to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as we possibly can. Even down to small things like the packaging I buy my seeds in, I now look for recyclable packaging as opposed to the paper packaging with plastic film because that takes longer to breakdown than a carboard tube does. We are completely peat free gardeners; we've never used peat based products and don't feel the need to. And personally we are trying to become as self sufficient as we possibly can in terms of our vegetables. My absolute hate is going to a supermarket and buying produce thats covered in plastic packaging. It really bothers me and the fact that we don't know where this produce is coming from half of the time or what its been grown with or without is also a concern for me. This is only our second year of vegetable growing however I've planned it out methodically so that we are growing the foods we eat on a weekly basis to reduce that footprint we'd build up buying from a supermarket as well as the packaging thats leftover on the back of that. I could go on about it for days but you get the picture.
What are your future plans for your garden?
Well.... at the moment our garden is still a bit wet and muddy and miserable after a rough winter. However by the end of March we should be good to go. This year as I mentioned before we will be growing all of our own vegetables in the garden. At the moment the plan is to do potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, chillis, onions, fresh herbs, strawberries and goodseberries. All of which have been sown indoors in our grow room and once they've made an appearence they'll be moved outdoors to the greenhouse. Flower wise I'm planning on growing all of my flowers for cutting into bouquets. Last year I grew Zinnia, Dahlia, Amaranthus, Sweet Pes, Snap Dragons, Nemesia etc so I'll probably do the same this year with a few added extras. Also planning to get some more flower beds in this year as yet again we've run out of space. Our garden is essentially a vegetable garden and flower garden being run in a new build back yard so we need to utilise every bit of available space that we have. In the future Mark and I would love to move to a property with lots of land so that we could grow flowers, fruits and vegetables to sell to the community as organic, home grown produce. Thats the dream; it may not become a reality but knowing us and our mindset we will get there eventually.
We want to thank Callum for sharing his gardening journey with us. To discover more of Callum's gardening journey you can follow him on Instagram @webstergardening