So it is that time of the year when thoughts turn to the veg patch for the coming year. At least it does in our house! I have grand ideas about perfect rows of sprouting this and that and bountiful produce falling into my fat little hand when the time comes. Whether it makes it to the plate is debatable and many a lunch has been straight off the plant/branch.
Having read Marc Diacono’s wonderful book A Taste of the Unexpected about growing what you love and also having been inspired by Alys Fowlers The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It
TV series (& in theory the book but I haven’t shelled out for it just yet!) This year I am selfishly growing what I like, potatoes are ‘OUT’, berries and chillies are ‘IN’. I planted raspberries, a blackcurrant and a 2m mulberry before Christmas and the big freeze, they are doing well though no signs of life just yet. I also planted a small asparagus bed which I know will take 3 years to produce fruits but I do LOVE asparagus and it will be worth it.
My supply for seeds has been the rather interesting Real Seed company a sort of maverick seed supplier who supplies ‘open pollinated seed’ which can be propagated by the grower – you, on your kitchen windowsill – from seeds you collect from the fruits of your labours this year! The seed comes in little packets with idiots guides for each one and then a set of sheets describing all your purchases and how to grow them – THIS is fabulous for a novice grower, no faffing about looking up your variety, all on one page!> My page is pinned to the kitchen notice board, lest I lose it.
I am having a debate with myself about introducing some stone fruit chez moi, a Victoria Plum, a Discovery Apple and a white Nectarine of some sort… SPACE just doesn’t look possible but then that has never stopped me before. I’d also love a golden kiwi and a blue honeysuckle not to mention the red gooseberry and Carolina allspice …GULP
This year main excitements are the arrival of 3 teeny Yacon roots and more Lemon Drop chillies which were a great hit 2 years ago. As usual I have laid them all out into my open office spreadsheet and marked a couple of vital weekends in my diary for planting seeds and planting out, staking and digging. I have also booked my lovely nephew, who seems to have grown into a big strong man sized thing over night, to do some digging in exchange for ££££ presumably to spend on driving lessons and or some iProduct, who knows.
Digging commences once the quagmire recedes (mid Feb-ish) and the setting out of the lottie will commence. And before you ask, YES, of course I have a design but this year am aiming for absolutely minimum maintenance and minimum costs. Having employed the AF ‘lasagne method’ with as much cardboard/mulch as I can lay my hands on. The plot looks a bit patchworky but really who cares? as long as it cuts out/down weeding and keeps the rampant grass under control.
If anyone would like copy of the spreadsheet to adulterate for themselves, mail me – being open source it is compatible with Linux, Microsoft and Mac! And it has most of the major veg groups on it…bar spuds 😉