Update 2 on our Dig In gardening challenge

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squash-seedlingA month ago I planted some carrots, lettuce, beetroot, tomatoes and squash, courtesy of my free seeds from the BBC Dig In challenge.

The aim of Dig In is to encourage everyone to grow their own. It’s all about getting stuck in and having a go, regardless of experience, time and garden size.

The seeds sent out to people were chosen because all crops do well in pots. So I’ve followed their instructions to the letter and now it’s time to report back!


Beetroot has been my greatest success with every seedling looking healthy and strong.

Every seed I sowed, germinated and has grown well. These are in pots of compost (normally I would grow in the ground), but they are looking robust and very happy.


I would say that half of the carrot seeds have germinated. Mr Green made a huge pot from old floorboards and I filled it with one third garden soil, one third horticultural sand and one third compost.

The seedlings that have sprouted are looking happy, but are small. Yesterday I planted more for a successional crop.


I sowed around 22 lettuce seeds and have three tiny lettuces poking their heads through the soil. I’m not sure why I had such a high failure rate – they are grown in a raised bed containing a mix of garden soil and compost. Still, if these three lettuces grow and are delicious then there is no great loss!


I planted three seeds and only one grew. It’s now been transplanted to a large pot filled with garden soil and compost. I’ve never grown squash before so this is a first for me. Apparently they are thirsty plants, so I’ve been giving it lots of water and love. It looks very happy and is growing well; enjoying its new space.


I planted 6 tomato seeds and have four plants. They look healthy, but small. I have now transplanted 2 of them into a large, compost-filled pot and popped one into the ground to see how it does. The remaining one is still in its original pot as it is quite small.

All in all things are going well. I’m delighted with the beetroot; espeically as they are one of my favourite vegetables and I’m looking forward to tasting my first ever home-grown carrot!

One of the tips from the BBC Dig In campaign this week was: Tomatoes that have grown spindly can be helped to develop strong roots by burying their stalk up to the first set of leaves.

Who knew?

How about you? What’s growing well in your garden this year?


  1. Jessica on June 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I am also growing squash from seeds and have 5 sprouts coming up. When do they have to be transplanted? I sowed them in a mound like the directions said and they seem to be doing quite well. This will be my first time growing from seeds as I usually just buy the plant.

  2. Mrs Green on June 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    @Jessica: Hi Jessica, welcome to the site and thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m not sure I’m the one to ask. The squash, out of all the plants is looking the saddest LOL!

    I would say it is surviving, rather than thriving if you know what I mean. I am confident it is getting enough water, so I guess it might be the quality of the soil. Apparently they will grow in a compost heap as they love the rich soil!

    The photo at the top of this post is the actual squash – and it was at this stage when I transplanted it; so 2 decent, established leaves and a new one on the way. It was a couple of inches tall I guess. I’ve since read that it might have been better to plant in situ – but I was following the packet instructions. We live and learn!

    Good luck with yours and please let me know how you get on. I liked your butterfly garden post on your blog 🙂

  3. Sue on June 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Liking the new look site!
    I plant on my courgettes when they have proper leaves about 2 inches across. I did 12 today!! with another 8 to go. We already have 8 in the allotment.
    Good luck with your growing!
    We have large marble sized tomatoes on the plants waiting to ripen. We are already eating red oakleaf lettuce and oregon mange tout.
    I think the first early potatoes might be ready.
    We have also planted shallots, onions, leeks, 1st, 2nd & main crop spuds, chard, marrows, climbing beans, DFrench beans, courgettes, Squash.
    And this week I have sown Carrots, swede, sp onions, Beetroot, more lettuce.

  4. Mrs Green on June 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Hi Sue,

    How lovely to see you – I didn’t recognise you until I browsed your site and see you have a new one – it looks fab and very purple.
    What do you do with your glut of courgettes? Is there a good way to preserve them?
    We don’t have any fruit on the tomatoes yet, but lots of flowers. And i think we’ll be eating potatoes within a month – can’t wait!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment – see you soon!

  5. Neil on June 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    @Mrs Green: Hiya,
    Well your squash looks fine, health wise, maybe you could give it a little organic liquid feed to speed up the growth.
    If you want to grow them on the compost heap, plant them in a mound of ordinary soil placed on the heap and allow them to find the richer stuff, otherwise they can be inundated with too many nutrients before they are ready for them.

    Jessica, If they are all coming up in the same container, transplant them to separate as quick as you can, all the squash family hate disturbance and should really be sown in separate pots for each seed, or two seeds per pot and cull the weakest of the two.

    Another tip, sow all the curcubite family with their seeds either side on and not flat. They are less likely to rot as the seed sheds excess water from itself.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Sue on June 16, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    @Mrs Green:
    Thanks 🙂
    Gluts of courgettes!! Well, I have a book called something like What shall we do with all those courgettes! Which is really useful towards the end of the season, you know, when you start thinking, I cannot eat anymore, I’ve had enough, I don’t even like the look of them anymore, I will not grow as many next year!!
    I like Courgettes (I am saying this before the season starts!! Might be different in 3 months time!) I like them roasted in garlic and olive oil with other med veg. I like them sauteed in butter with garlic. We also eat them raw with salad. I make Courgette chocolate cake. Last year I made Courgette wine (not tried it yet!), and courgette pickle. I let some grow big, so roasted them as marrows, they stored really well, right up until Christmas. And some ended up as chicken food. 🙂

  7. Mrs Green on June 18, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Neil, thank you for your great tips. Mr Green bought some liquid seaweed, is this what you mean for organic liquid feed? Good tip about the compost heap too – I’ll bear that in mind if we decide to plant in a compost heap next year. The plant appears to have picked up a bit; so things are good 🙂

    Maybe, from reading your advice to Jessica, it was getting over being repotted; I didn’t realise they preferred to be left alone 🙂

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