Sustainable Living – My Vegepod Review – Grow Your Own Food


My Vegepod Review – A ‘Grow Your Own Food’ Journey

In December 2019 I published this article: Sustainable Living – Grow Your Own Food in a Vegepod and this short video:



It’s now spring 2021, and a great time to reflect on how I got on throughout my first year of growing my own food in a Vegepod. From its first set up in the autumn/winter of 2019, through the spring and summer of 2020 and back to winter again. In essence this article is my Vegepod review.

Did I grow everything to perfection in this first year of growing food? Certainly not! I won some and I lost some. But the most important thing is that I took an idea to expand on growing windowsill herbs, and grew enough vegetables to enjoy numerous dishes and dinners.

I helped instill the wonder and appreciation of growing food in my little boys who were, and still are always more than happy to get stuck in. And growing food in our Vegepod actually encouraged us as a family to grow more in our garden too, from mange tout and potatoes, to apples and pears. We also focused more on providing bee and butterfly friendly flowers and plants. And so overall this Vegepod review is a highly positive one.

 


Sustainable Living – My Vegepod Review - Grow Your Own Food - Great for Children


Vegepod Review – What I learnt

Here are some of the main points I’d like to share with you, if you are considering purchasing a large Vegepod.

  1. Find the perfect spot in your garden, because unlike the medium sized Vegepod which is can be moved via a trolley style stand, once your large Vegepod is filled with soil, it’s not going to be an easy feat to move it.
  2. Test out the canopy position when setting up. When working on the Vegepod you can either remove the netted canopy completely or my advice is, from the very start – position the Vegepod a good distance from a wall or fence so that you can prop the canopy against it when open. This will save you taking it off and putting it back on all the time, especially when it’s just a quick visit for a harvest of lettuce or herbs.
  3. During hot weather, water water water! During the heatwave of Spring 2020, a number of my veggies which were up until then growing at as steady and healthy speed, bolted. And once vegetables have bolted, they’re usually inedible. Bolting means that the vegetable speeds up growth to create flowers and seeds – it’s a type of survival mechanism. One way I could have prevented this would have been to snip the flowers and buds early on, another way would have been to keep the soil temperature down by watering more.

    Sustainable Living – My Vegepod Review - Grow Your Own Food - Home Grown Harvest


  4. Be careful what you plant. I made some daft decisions over the year with what I planted, from what I thought were miniature tomatoes, that weren’t, to mange tout – now that was just silly. Thankfully, however, I was able to keep the tomato plant as it was the last of my harvesting. And I was able to move the mange tout to a large pot outside of the Vegepod and it thrived.
  5. Wait till the frost has cleared before removing the PVC winter canopy. The PVC winter canopy is a great addition to your Vegepod – it protects your growing veggies from overly wet weathered days, and from frost during winter and early spring growth. But even if you are eager to remove it and admire your growing veggies, don’t do it too soon, make sure the frosty, icy mornings and nights are over first.
  6. Keep an eye out for pests. The Vegepod is designed to keep pests out, and it’s perfect for that, but be aware that you might actually bring pests into your Vegepod by means of the shop bought vegetable plants you grow. So check plants for pests before you plant them. And keep the soil moist to prevent the likes of spider mites, and if you must use an insecticide always opt for the organic or natural homemade kind.

Sustainable Living – My Vegepod Review - Grow Your Own Food - Garden to Fork

Vegepod Review – What I Grew – in Photos

This part of my ‘Vegepod Review’ is to give you an example of some of the vegetables I grew. The more successful harvests. These were: edible crocus flowers, parsley, lettuce, spring onions, garlic, cabbage, swiss chard, tomatoes (although I won’t be growing them in my Vegepod again). Unfortunately my bok choi and land cress bolted – never to be seen again!


Photos: Edible Crocuses | Parsley and Spring Onions


Photos: Lettuce | Garlic


Photos: Swiss Chard | Carrots


Photos: Cabbage | Tomatoes


Vegepod Review – From Garden to Fork – What I Cooked

I love featuring recipes here on The Life of Stuff that are simple and tasty – our family favourites. Here are just five of the recipes I have cooked and still cook using my homegrown vegetables and herbs. From garden to fork!

  1. The Best Fried Cabbage Recipe – Delicious Comfort Food
  2. Homegrown Tomatoes Recipe – Bruschetta is Best
  3. Delicious Hearty Cabbage Soup with Parsley Croutons Recipe
  4. Swiss Chard, Spring Onion and Parmesan Pasta Recipe
  5. Heh Presto – A Parsley and Walnut Pesto Recipe

Vegepod Review – What it Inspired Elsewhere in Our Garden

I’ve been growing the red currant bush since my Dad gave me a twig of one many moons ago. And we already had lavender and thyme growing healthily in our front garden. However the addition of the Vegepod gave us the goo to expand a little more, and we hope to improve our gardens both to the front and back of our house, year on year. In the past year we added two miniature apple trees, one pear tree, numerous wild flowers, more lavender and we even tried our hand at growing potatoes!


Photos: Red Currants | Lavender


Sustainable Living – My Vegepod Review - Grow Your Own Food - Potatoes

Photo: Potatoes – a pot for each member of our household!


Photos: Apples | Mange Tout


Photos: Bee and Butterfly-friendly flowers


Just to note:

  • As mentioned in my previous Vegepod article we purchased ours from horkans.ie. Paraic Horkan and his staff were a pleasure to deal with. And if you don’t know already, Paraic is a gardening guru whom you’re sure to recognise from TV and radio. He also shares lots of gardening tips across the Horkans social channels.
  • When we don’t grow our own vegetables, we prefer to buy directly from our local grower, which I highly recommend you try out in your own area. We shop from Dermot Carey whom you’ll find on Instagram @dermot.carey. Of course this isn’t always possible and so when supermarket shopping we try our best to buy Irish, and seasonal.
  • For brilliant ‘grow your own’ tips I highly recommend Dee from Greenside Up – she’s a superstar and her videos, guides and social media updates are always a pleasure so be sure to connect with her. In the meantime though you can have a read of this article: Grow Your Own Tips from Dee of Award-Winning Greenside Up

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Edwina O'Connor
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