Elma Family Garden Kitty Pip

In the Pocket Handkerchief Garden: 14 May 2015


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.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

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.Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

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.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life

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!

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  • Mackenzie Glanville (reflectionsfromme.com) 14/05/2015 at 8:30 am

    Lately we have let our vegie patch go to ruin, and Winter is ready to set in, not feeling inspired to garden, but you make me feel like getting out there again

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 9:27 am

      How about onions or garlic? We planted them in the autumn and pretty much ignored them all winter – definitely my sort of gardening!

  • barnraised (Jen) 14/05/2015 at 8:35 am

    I empathize with you here. I so love gardening but tend to outdo myself. I get so caught up in the horses and other things only to criticize myself for neglecting the garden! This year we are finding balance with small raised beds of things we will really nurture. And yet allowing ourselves the time to be.

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 9:27 am

      I tend top start thinking about what to grow and before I know it I’ve got enough seeds to start a small farm!! Three packets only is very very restrained for me!

  • Mandycharlie 14/05/2015 at 11:38 am

    Just a quick warning as it’s very well known in the allotment fraternity. Be ultra careful when harvesting your onions that you don’t pick up a daffodil by mistake, they are incredibly difficult to tell apart at that stage and are extremely toxic. It’s the reason why your advised not to grow onions near darts. Apart from that, have fun, you know how much we enjoyed our allotment.

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you – we’ve put the onions in the bed that never had daffs to be on the safe side!

      • mandycharlie 14/05/2015 at 2:28 pm

        Yes, but the plants can self seed and as they have been doing their own thing for a couple of years they probably have. If you put in sets you’ll be fine, you’ll be able to see very clearly any seeds that have developed, but if you planted onion seed, it will be less easy, that’s where the nice straight rows come in handy, any standing not straight and to attention should be very carefully looked at.

        • Carie 14/05/2015 at 3:19 pm

          Oh good to know – we did sets I think – little mini onions? I will have a good look at anything not in our nice straight rows! xx

  • Kim 14/05/2015 at 1:13 pm

    Looks great Carie. I think you have the right idea, keep it small and grow things you know you will eat. You really can’t go wrong with that. Have fun!

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 10:16 pm

      Ah but my thumb is pure black – I still need all my fingers crossed!

  • Heather 14/05/2015 at 3:04 pm

    I too seem to have big dreams, but they seem to fizzle throughout the summer. I have a new wee one this summer, but I am hoping the enthusiasm of the older two and their love of all things fresh from the garden, will keep me going! Your garlic will probably have scapes, and then you will know it is garlic 🙂

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 10:15 pm

      Oh that’s true – From the picture on the packet it should be fairly obvious when I pull it up too!

  • Vickie 14/05/2015 at 8:38 pm

    Oh it’s looking great Carie! I love your plan to stick to veggies that require little maintenance and that you know will be eaten.

    Don’t forget to avoid thinning out or harvesting your parsnips on a sunny day. Or at least wear long sleeves if you can’t avoid it. 🙂

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 9:51 pm

      OK. I haven’t got any parsnips this year but for future year’s sake – why? Do they turn into stinging nettles at the first sign of sunshine or something? And yes – I am such a novice gardner!

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 14/05/2015 at 8:40 pm

    How cool?! We’re just starting this in our garden and I’m hoping that, finally, we’ll be able to grow something. I’m far from green-fingered and the boys seem to prefer to throw compost at each other rather than use it for planting so while I’m hopeful, I’m far from confident.

    • Carie 14/05/2015 at 9:50 pm

      You sound like you’re at my level of gardening – hopefully enthusiasm will carry the day for us!

  • Jess @ Picnics in the Rain 15/05/2015 at 3:48 pm

    Your little raised beds look very similar to ours – hopefully we will both have little crops of tasty homegrown produce later in the year 🙂

    • Carie 17/05/2015 at 9:09 pm

      fingers crossed – though everything is still alive right now so so far so good!

  • Ms. Cleaver 15/05/2015 at 7:16 pm

    My gardening expectations and reality never match. I’m always going to plan ahead and start seeds indoors and inevitably I end up buying seedling at the farmers market, grabbing what strikes my fancy, and planting in June. To wit – May 15, not a plan or a plant in sight, but I have big plans for memorial day weekend!

    • Carie 17/05/2015 at 9:01 pm

      Yay – go for it!!

  • sally 16/05/2015 at 4:21 pm

    I’m with you on the idea being better than the reality! But it’s looking promising out there for you, fingers crossed it all comes to fruition.

    • Carie 17/05/2015 at 8:57 pm

      I think I’m off to a good start having worked out what is probably going to be spinach – now I just need to decide whether to thin it or not!