Welcome to Springology! Here at Skiology, Spring was historically a sad time for us as this was the time that the snow melted and the winter season drew to a close. But since following the logical path of growing our own food and loving the process, we have grown (excuse the pun) to love Spring and want to share it with you.
The chances are that if you like Skiology, you love food just as much as we do. And if you have not tried to grow your own vegetables before, you must give it a try! The taste of homegrown veggies is on another level! So join us for the 2021 growing season for and a good old grow along, cook along- Skiology style!
Reasons to love growing veg!
Buying local where possible and sustainability is central to our values. Therefore it made sense that this runs through from business to home among team Skiology. There is nothing fresher than produce straight from the garden with zero food miles.
Gardening is known for boosting your mental health and wellbeing. It gets us outdoors and oh the excitement of cooking those vegetables from the first harvest of the year is divine!
So here is our idea…
Our annual cook-off is coming up where we trial new recipes to add new dishes to the menu in line with guest feedback. Therefore, we thought it would be exciting to share with you an insight into our summertime love of nature. All wrapped up in growing your own and cooking fresh homegrown produce. So join us as we share some of our recipes with produce grown in the garden.
Grow along with us.
Prepare and preserve your produce.
Join in the Skiology cook a long!
Enjoy the literal fruits of your labor
Here is what we got up to in March. But it’s not too late! All these jobs can be caught up with throughout April if you still haven’t started.
You can sow some seeds as early as January but I find that around March time is when the spring weather inspires me to get the seedbox out and have a rummage. Completely guided by the ‘when to sow’ instructions on each seed pack, I sort into month piles so I have a tangible to do (or to sow) list for each month.
March and April are bumper months for sowing seeds and so far there is a little bit of everything potting up. Cayenne chillies (on the windowsill for heat!), tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, cosmos, marigolds, sweetpeas and beetroots.
Pots: No matter what space or equipment you have, anyone can sow some seeds and you don’t need a greenhouse, any sunny windowsill will do. If you don’t have plant pots, the toilet roll cardboard is an excellent pot, eco friendly and space-saving!
Compost: Seeds do like to have a little of the right compost to get started. But it is not a hard and fast rule that you need to buy specific seed sowing compost as you can either make your own mix or your local garden centre will have some pre-mixed bags.
Team Seed Buying Tips
Aside from giving in to the temptation of buying seed packs in every shop I see them in, I still get a bulk order from DT Brown Seeds. A huge variety with some excellent guidance. Perhaps my favourite part is that they dispatch the seeds/bulbs/seed potatoes at the time of year that they are ready to go in the ground. How clever is that!
Real Seeds was introduced to us by Resort Manager Sam. This site has a huge variety of organic, rare or heirloom variety of seeds. Sam loves to purchase his seeds from here not only for the unique story of every seed they sell but also tell you how to save the seeds so you don’t need to buy them from them each year. This is a must-visit site for anyone looking to grow absolutely anything in the garden this spring.
Or like Chloe and Luc, you can get on down to your local garden centre and look at all the tempting pack of seeds on offer! Here in the mountains, the garden centres are not as plentiful with the varieties as you may find in some UK garden centres. And the prices can sometimes be a little higher! But since garden centres remain open in the UK throughout the current lockdown, what nicer way to kick f the growing season than a visit to support your local garden centre.
If you are new to growing potatoes, you may wonder what ‘to chit’ means. This is simply the process of allowing seed potatoes to wake up from their winter hibernation and sprout little shoots. This typically takes 2-3 weeks and once the shoots appear, they will be ready to plant.
You could take a store-bought potato and chit it by placing it on a window sill on a clean and dry surface (an egg crate is a popular choice). Sometimes they sprout by themselves in the cupboard. It is however generally felt that you will get a far better quality of potato after all your efforts when using specifically bought seed potatoes. The seed potatoes and can be purchased along with your seeds online or at your local garden centre.
Prepare Pots or Beds
With snow still covering the veg patch at Morzine Skiology HQ, it only Skiology HQ in the UK where the veg beds have been prepared with plenty of organic matter being dug in (well-rotted horse manure and homemade compost).
For those of you planting into pots, some homemade or shop-bought compost will do the trick since it will be on a smaller scale and won’t require so much!
With snow still covering the ground in April in the Alps and some parts of the UK, we are still a little way off planting lots of new seedlings out. However, there is still plenty to be done. So roll up your sleeves and pop the kettle on. Here is what we will be getting up to this April.
Make homemade organic soil improvers
In the Skiology spirit of recycling, we love nothing more than home made alternatives to shop bought products which may not necessarily be great for the environment. Here are 3 of our absolute favourites which you may wish to start collecting now!
Banana Dust!: Rich in potassium which plants absolutely love. Bananas are a great source of food for pretty much all plants and vegetable seedlings. Although a great addition to your compost pile (if you have one), you can store up this plant ready nutrient now by simply leaving your banana skins on the window sill to dry out. When thoroughly dry, pop them in your pestle and mortar and make into a powder. Simply store this and then when you begin planting your seedlings out in the soil, sprinkle 1-2 tsp of the powder into your freshly dug hole before planting. Simple!
Eggshells: Also another great addition to any compost heap, this time of year I start to collect and store egg shells separately. Once thoroughly cleaned, leave to dry and then roughly crush. These are a double whammy as can be placed around the stem of any enticing new seedling to deter the slugs! They just don’t like the texture! But another benefit is the slow release of calcium the soil receives from the eggshells. So get saving!
Nettles: If you are out in the garden and planning on clearing all those pesky nettles from your garden path. Stop! Packed with Nitrogen, this is a robust fertiliser for plants when left to ferment in water in a shady area of your garden. Simply chop up the leaves and stalks and place in a bucket and fill to the top. Place a rock or brick on top of the nettles to keep them in place and then fill the remainder of the bucket with water. If you have pets or garden visitors, it is a good idea to move this out of the way, somewhere shady and place something to cover it. This gets incredibly stinky- I mean SUPER stinky! The plant nettle fertiliser will be ready in 2-3 weeks and can be diluted 1 part fertiliser with 20 parts rainwater. Your plants will love you!
Nitrogen promotes healthy plant growth and greenery. We will get into other fertilisers with high Potash later on into Spring as Potash deals more with fruiting plants.
Collect useful recycling materials!
We all know that single-use plastic is bad news for all of us. Most of all, the planet. While most of us try our best to reduce this in our household, there are just a few items that still find their way into our homes.
Plastic milk bottles: These are a great example as you can repurpose them for so many things in the garden. My entire outdoor salad shelf was made using a milk bottle cut in half and some small holes pierced in the bottom for drainage. The perfect size to hold 1 baby gem in each or 1 lollo rosso. Magic 🙂
So get saving and check out this cool guide: https://www.ruralsprout.com/plastic-milk-containers-garden-uses/
Keep an eye on those seedlings! And watch this space for our next instalment!