Introducing our Vegepod Raised Garden Bed

There’s more to our Vegepod than growing our own food. For me there’s a sense of nostalgia even though it’s brand new. And here’s why:

When I was young, my late father got the notion to grow his own food. He didn’t do it by halves, my Dad. And so he erected a 54 foot polytunnel in our back garden and set to work. He grew everything from tomatoes to cabbages, kale and spinach. Tending to his crops with love and care, there was no doubt he was naturally green-fingered. It was probably in his blood, he a farmer’s son after all.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - cabbage

I remember it quite clearly, walking through the polytunnel, its warmth, and the smell of the damp soil. The radio playing – to keep the plants company. His harvests of fruit and vegetables were of the highest standard, bountiful, and we reaped the benefits each dinner time, sometimes whether we wanted to or not. This memory of his greenhouse has evoked fond memories over the past year since his passing. And so purchasing a Vegepod to mark his one year anniversary is more than just our family’s sustainable living journey – for me it’s also an ode to my Dad and his gardening days.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Winter Food Planting

Why a Vegepod?

My first introduction to a Vegepod was in June at the gardening festival ‘Bloom’ in Dublin. I was impressed by its features which includes:

  • protective canopy – an all year one to protect from pests, the elements and weeds.
  • winter canopy – made from PVC to protect against excessive rain and frost.
  • soil containment – no contamination from surrounding soil.
  • self-watering – through its special wicking reserve.
  • nutrient recycling – through the reserve.
  • size availability – the large size will provide for my small family.
  • height – the bed is raised up 80cm so no bad back days!

Our Vegepod Set Up Experience

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - The Base

Vegepods come in three different sizes; small, medium and large. We decided on the large size because we are a family of four and want to grow as much of our own food as possible.

We bought our Vegepod from Ireland’s Vegepod specialists Horkans.ie.

 

The Vegepod comes in pieces but like lego it’s easy to put together. Luckily for us though we had gardening guru, Paraic Horkan from Horkans.ie to help us set ours up properly. He also advised us on what plants to plant each season – starting with our current season, winter.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Adding Perlite

If you have little helpers, let them help you. Our budding gardeners couldn’t be held back. And I was proud that even as preschoolers, they knew from experience how much fun planting and growing can be. Although this was on a much bigger scale than helping mum grow herbs on the windowsill!

From the perlite to the soil and plants, everything used was natural and organic – making it a safe and educational environment for littles to be thoroughly involved in.

 

After choosing the plants that would suit an Irish winter it was time to plant. A top tip from Paraic, if doing this from scratch, is to lay out your plants before they go into the soil.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Plant Layout

What can you spot? We’ve got parsley, lettuce, swiss chard, and mini yellow and red peppers, and cabbage.

 

Did you know that pansies are edible flowers? – they look great garnishing a G&T! And along with the plants you can grow from seeds and bulbs too. We planted red onions and garlic in amongst the swiss chard and cabbage.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Winter Planting

 

After a nice watering it was time to put on the canopy. This is the one that stays on all year round to protect your crops from pests – big and small, contamination and the weather.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Cover

And when the rain and frost came a couple of weeks later, it was time for the PVC cover.

Sustainable Living - Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod - Winter Cover

Harvesting our Crops

It’s winter now but we’ve already harvested lettuce for lunches, parsley for pesto pasta dinners, and chilli peppers for nibbles.

 

I’ll be sharing more on our Vegepod Grow Your Own Food journey – from recipes to seasonal planting – the next one will be spring, so do check in. But for now …

 

For full Vegepod details, specifications and information you can visit the Horkans.ie site here.

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Edwina O'Connor
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