We kicked off this year in January with the beginnings of an ambitious project for our garden. Six new raised beds went into it in March, joining the one Vegtrug we planted up last year. More recently, in April, two long planters for peas and an assortment of buckets of potato plants joined them.
For a few months now, the back garden has looked more like an allotment than a garden, and is still very much a work in progress. But, with a larger patio space for a table and chairs and the green signs of vegetables growing showing up against the dark of fresh soil, I’m starting to think we might have a chance of achieving the enthusiastic goal I set us this year. My plan is that we will be self sufficient in vegetables this summer, and have something to eat from our garden next winter too.
With that goal firmly in mind, we have planted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, peas, radishes, beetroots, chard, courgettes, onions, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, an array of brassicas intended for next winter, mixed salad leaves and rocket. Seeing it all written down, it seems a crazy amount compared to last year, and I have to admit it’s not exactly a gradual increase. The excitement of trying to grow new varieties and types of vegetables is seductive, and I’m determined to give all of these my best shot, as is Chris. I think that what ever doesn’t work we’ll either leave in future, or find new ways to make them a success. This is still an enormous learning curve for us both, but I feel confident in the huge amount that we’ve learned already.
In a strange way, I am also looking forward to eating seasonally, even though that means less variety of vegetables are available to eat. Since supermarkets have made it possible to eat what ever we fancy at any time of year, I think we’ve lost a sense of the wonder and anticipation of each season, and the new things to eat as the months pass. This does of course mean that we’re a bit at the mercy of the weather and whether our plants actually grow, so I suppose I am glad that the shops are still there as a back up just in case!
The other thing I am determined to stick to is growing organically. There are no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or weed killers allowed in the veg garden, and I have planted wild flowers and sweet peas in the hopes of attracting some friendly pollinators! At the front, I have similar hopes for my lavender and rosemary plants, and these join thyme, sage, lemon thyme, mint, celery leaf, chives and parsley to form my new herb bed. Handily located under the kitchen window, I can quickly pop out to cut herbs for dinner whenever I need them. I only cut what I need to use, so there is little wastage, and they look good too! I’m excited to see them fill out the gaps in the bed as they become more established.
And on top of all of this, surely not anything else? Well actually, we’ve also decided to create strawberry hanging baskets, grow a dwarf raspberry cane on our new patio, and have two chilli plants and a sweet pepper plant currently residing in our living room. There’s no such thing as too much…right?