30 January 2020 By Julia Parker
How did you first get into gardening?
I used to be a picture researcher before the age of computers, spending my time looking at transparencies mainly for gardening books. It was really when sourcing lovely images of beautiful gardens and vegetable patches that I was inspired to create my own at home, both a vocation and for pleasure.
How did you come to start Parker’s Patch?
When we moved to the country side from London we inherited a part walled garden, small orchard area and an old lean to greenhouse, it had been neglected for years and was crying out for some attention, slowly I turned it into a kitchen garden that we could eat from pretty much all year round. Gradually friends started asking me for advice and that’s when I decided to run courses from home, teaching people how to get the best from their patch no matter how big or small and to experience the pleasure it can bring eating something homegrown.
What can someone get/expect from your courses?
My courses are for all standards of gardening, I encourage growing as much as you can from seed, not only from a cost point of view but it is incredibly satisfying sowing a few tiny seeds and ending up with an edible harvest! I talk about the benefits of growing your own, on the Basic courses I talk about how to start a vegetable garden from scratch and discuss composting and how much to grow. On all my courses I share my tips on how to sow different seeds and how to maintain a healthy crop for harvesting through the summer and beyond.
What are your top tips for the garden in February?
Get lots of sowing under your belt before the busy sowing season. Clean your greenhouse inside and out, it’s important to get as much light as possible this time of year. Make a list of what you want to grow and order seeds in. Start potatoes off inside in a position that gets lots of light, this is known as chitting. Sow tomatoes, chillies, peppers and aubergines in the greenhouse. Add compost to spare beds. Sow sweet peas and broad beans in long rooted pots.
If you had to grow one thing what would it be?
Now that is a difficult question I have so many favourites and must haves in the garden but I suppose it’s ‘All Gold’ yellow raspberries; sweeter than the red varieties and prolific croppers. They start to fruit in the middle of the summer and carry on until the first frost in October or November.