The Little Veg Bed

Finally, got around to writing this blog post about my gardening exploits this past weekend.  The weather was delightful, dry and sunny and it was the perfect opportunity to set to and put my plans for a vegetable/fruit bed into action.  I reported in previous posts how I had decided to convert the ‘Big Border’ in the middle of the garden to grow produce and I have moved a few plants but it really needed a concerted effort and focus to progress it properly.

I did managed to buy three bags of farmyard manure before the lockdown and I have been saving them for the vegetable border.  I spent Saturday working through the first section of the border, just over a third of the border.  Many snowdrops were lifted, luckily its the ideal time to move them in the green; perennials were moved mainly to the border on the other side of the grass path; some camassias were relocated to the slope and I have to admit that a significant number of camassias have gone to the great compost heap in the sky.  Now some might be shocked by this but the camassias were taking over the border and their large leaves and bulbs make it challenging to grow much else so the time was rip for a cull.

This is the border at the end of Saturday.  I add two of my precious bags of manure, dug it all over and raked it.  I’m going to try to not walk on the border having worked so hard on the soil.

Sunday was planting day which was very exciting.  Raspberry canes went in along the top of the border by the grass path.  I had bought a couple of pots of canes before the lock down but then realised on Sunday that I now had 10 canes and if I placed them the appropriate 1ft apart I wouldn’t be able to fit them in.  So I have thrown caution to the wind and have planted them in a double row with the canes planted at 45 degrees to the ones in the adjacent row, so its a kind of zig-zag, if you see what I mean.  The fruit section was expanded with a rhubarb, some relocated Sweet Cicely, a Gooseberry Invicta and half a dozen Strawberries.

The Veg are represented by four Potato Sharpe’s Express, three Broccoli, Shallots started in pots, some Lettuce Little Gem seedlings.  In addition I have sown Rocket, Beetroot and a salad leaf mix.

Here is the Little Veg Bed at the end of Sunday all planted up and no space to spare.  I’m now planning on extending across the border as I will hopefully have Courgette, more potatoes, and Sweet Peas to plant as well as other salad seeds.

And to just finish off my happiness we have good steady rain on Sunday night so the border has had a good soak.

I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed pulling this border together.  I’m really excited about the prospect of finally making veg growing work so watch this space to see how I do.


The hardest thing about growing your own is…

My squash crop
My squash crop

…eating it – well for me.

I don’t have a problem eating vegetables, or fruit, I love them.  My problem is that I am a creature of habit and routine and I am rubbish at doing things differently.  I am getting better at going with the flow generally and don’t have panic attacks as I did many years ago when I was first on my own with two small children.  Whilst I have more or less conquered this problem I still find it hard to remember to cook different things and try new recipes.

I do like cooking but you know how it is when you work full-time in a demanding job – when you get home you just want to rustle something up quickly without much thought.  The idea of trying something new after a long day doesn’t really appeal but I am going to have to get to grips with it or the whole point of having an allotment and growing my own will be lost.

One of my many cabbages
One of my many cabbages

I have managed it before when I had a veg box delivered and when I have been on a diet so I know I can do it but whenever I stop trying I slip back to my standbys off ratatouille.  Ratatouille is fine in the summer when there are home grown courgettes and tomatoes but in November when I have a pile of squashes . shallots, garlic and kale sitting waiting to be eaten, with cabbages and Jerusalem artichokes lurking in the wings it does seem to be the wrong approach.

I  did take the approach when planning what to grow to only grow things I like to eat or think I would like to eat.  However my unoriginal eating habits mean that if I only grew what I ate my allotment would only be productive for a few months with tomatoes, courgettes and salads.  I am determined for the allotment to be productive for as much of the year as possible so I need to change my ways.

Black Tuscan Kale - which I need new ways to cook
Black Tuscan Kale - which I need new ways to cook

So I am now on a mission not to eat ratatouille until my squashes have run out and I have to resort to using the courgettes I hid in the freezer.  Tonight I made my first squash risotto and it wasn’t too bad.  I won’t share the recipe here as it was a bit hit and miss as I desperately need to do some shopping for essential ingredients.  However, thanks to my twitter friends I have a number of pasta and risotto recipes to try over the coming weeks as well as a wonderful soup recipe.

I need to find quick and easy alternatives to my favourite pasta, risotto and stir fry recipes so any suggestions will be welcome and I will be pouring over the recipe books over the coming evenings.  Who knows I might be sharing recipes on the blog one day.