Growing Your Own 2 – Planning the Produce
Following on from my introduction to our intentions for a vegetable patch, things have slowed down some, for various reasons – not least due to the weather which does not encourage any of us to go out and dig! And not much else can happen until we’ve done that, really – there are too many weeks, I think.
What we will do is borrow someone with a rotovator and go over the lot in readiness, so that the soil can break down nicely with the frosts – or whatever it is the soil does over winter – generally has a bit of a rest, I am sure. Then as soon as the weather warms, we will start sowing and planting.
Before all of this we are enjoying the planning – just what will we grow. An obvious and easy beginner choice would be potatoes, and we will grow plenty, not least because I understand it’s a good first plant for ground that has been left fallow for a while. The children are all for growing odd things, like blue potatoes and purple carrots (though it seems this was their original colour) as well as some ornamental squash. These will all certainly be included, not least as it may encourage my boy to eat more healthily!
And we do want to experiment – peas are fun – building the “twiggy pea stick” supports and almost aching to eat those first, freshest possible peas straight from the pod – something my girl loves doing – she’s happy with those instead of sweets, so has to be encouraged. Then some runner beans – again nothing better than these from your own garden, picked within the hour of steaming them. With raspberries and strawberries – few of which are likely to make it into the kitchen, never mind with sufficient for jams and the like!
My herb garden will expand too, to accommodate garlic, I think, and a large rosemary bush – that is always welcome.
So all this dreaming and plotting is all we have to report for now, and I’ll return next year with our first sowings and plantings to share with you. In the meantime, what else should we consider for our first year’s harvest? What has worked most successfully for you?
Growing Your Own – A Vegetable Patch from Scratch
What a treat to be asked to share the story of how our veggie garden will grow…
One of the reasons for moving to this house was for the garden – plenty of room for the children to play and a perfect area that was once a vegetable garden but which has long been taken over by weeds and grass. There is a fine rhubarb plant that rewarded us with some lovely stalks after a little care and tending (roasted rhubarb with custard, anyone?), and the plum tree provided for many pots of jam and plenty of sweet eating, and we have a strong bramley apple tree too – apple pie, sponge, tart – mmm. We do also have a wondrous fig growing but I’ve no idea if the fruits are ripening or rotting – I must find out as the tree is very prolific. And the walnut trees – how sweet are fresh walnuts! I never knew.
As the children grow, I’d really love to encourage a desire to grow our own food. I love growing things – nothing fills me with a sense of well-being more than pottering in the garden. So, we cleared the falling-down greenhouse (with an ancient vine that had pushed out several panes of glass) and this year grew some tomato plants and a mini-cucumber which my girl enjoyed taking from the plant and eating immediately – good for her! She is definitely keen to grow things, having got involved with the school garden, not just growing but also then selling the produce – potatoes and broad beans, ensuring everyone had the chance to buy, going through the school and selling to the teachers as well as at a stall in the school at the end of the day (with others – she’s not the only enterprising one). My boy fancies growing odd things, just for the fun of it, not for the end result, though you never know – one of these days something more than the occasional broccoli and raw carrot must start to appeal
So at home the first thing we need to do is clear the patch, which is no mean feat, however the guinea pigs are helping! We move their hutch every day or so and they nibble the greenery, clearing patchs as they go while leaving behind some “added enrichment” for the soil. I suppose we could hire a rotovator and just go over the lot in an afternoon, but we never get around to that. So we have started to dig strips and will keep the weeds from leaping into these fresh areas, ready for potatoes to start with – apparently that’s a good thing to grow first (and how easy!) but also some fun things like sweetcorn, just because we can (even if there is a field full of it next to the garden!). And fruit – raspberries would be lovely, and some gooseberries, perhaps.
So this blog will be home to a regular update on how we get on and hopefully some of you can join in, perhaps with suggestions, how you are growing your own produce, and generally exploring the whole idea of growing our own, which more of us are doing now in these lean and intending-to-be greener times.
Thanks, Haim and Lisa, for encouraging me to share this here with you. An added incentive to keep up the momentum and get digging!