I think I’ve always been better at the idea of growing things than the actual reality. I love truly fresh fruit and veg and was absolutely spoiled as a child both from having an aunt and uncle with the best strawberry fields in the entire world, the various crops that my Mum grew, and the apple orchard alongside the house. If she never quite got around to writing “100 and one ways with apple” it wasn’t of lack of inspiration on the subject matter.
But my efforts so far have been marked with far more enthusiasm than actual hard graft. We planted a couple of raised beds in the garden when Kitty was little, our pocket handkerchief veggie garden and that year we had a bumper crop of purple sprouting broccoli, a couple of handfuls of strawberries, some spinach that bolted before we could eat that much spinach and some surprisingly small carrots and potatoes. And I had all these wonderful plans to be out in the garden every summer with Kitty and it was going to be very domesticated and totally amazing. And then of course it rained and Kitty didn’t want to sit still anywhere near the veg beds and kept diving down the bank and she wasn’t really big enough to either be interested or help and my gardening exploits sort of fizzled out. Two more babies, two more summers of not being able to garden thanks to the delightful neighbourhood cats using it as their outdoor litter tray and I had a lot of grass and some very resilient daffodils.
But this year we’re going for it. I’m trying to learn from past experience and we’re only going to grow the things that I think we will really eat and we’ve heavily restricted how much of anything we plant.
So for this year, in our very tiny veg garden we have one bed with the strawberry plants that have survived my neglect, they’re now quite sturdy plants and we should get a couple of handfuls of strawberries again this year. I’m thinking of filling in a gap or two with a couple of new strawberry plants this year, or I might just leave it to see if they spread a bit more. At the other end we planted some garlic and onions in the autumn and they’ve actually turned into plants. I can’t remember which bit is garlic and which bit is onions but when the leaves die away in July (ish) I’ll pull a couple up and find out. I know I’ve got it written down somewhere, I just need to find the piece of paper.
The second bed was more intensively weedy but when the daffodils died away, Kitty and I set to work one sunny morning, pulling up weeds, pulling out great chunks of turf and trying to return it to being a veg bed. It’s still got a bit of grass mixed in, and it’s by no means perfect, but with a rainstorm hovering we decided it was good enough and sewed our seeds. We’ve got Incredible sweetcorn in the middle because we all like corn on the cob, one end is Bright Lights Rainbow Chard, and the other Apollo Spinach, both of which we planted fairly close together to grow baby leaves for salad as well as cooking. I can’t actually remember which end is which but I’m pretty sure we’ll work it out when the seedlings sprout.
According to the back of the seed packets, the spinach seedlings appear in 7-14 days and the chard 14-28 so I’m going with the north end being the spinach because we came up to check on it the other day and found this lovely little haze of green.
Which was a bit of a relief because we bought the seeds out of what was left on a stand in the supermarket, it’s not exactly the most technical or well researched version of gardening.
So this is our garden at almost the start of the growing season and I thought it would be fun to keep a little record of how our garden grows, both so that I remember what I planted where for future years and to back up the girls’ record of our endeavours, which is more green and less specifically identifiable plants.
And it also means that for the first time I can join in with Soulemama and friends, though our garden looks even more pocket handkerchief in comparison!