Whats in Your Vegetable Patch this Year?
(A personal blog from a keen gardener)
We’ve been growing vegetables for a decade yet every year we learn something new. It’s now a tradition that when the weather is cold and the ground is frozen, we’ll draw a vegetable patch “map” and plan what we’d like to grow this year.
We always endeavour to reduce the amount of waste as every year we inevitably have too much of one crop and not enough of another. Last year we had an abundance of broad beans but not nearly enough fresh peas.
I also try to throw in something new every year, although this is often seen as a waste of space. I’ve introduced melons (that grew to 1cm across), pea asparagus (that was useful for flossing teeth nothing else) a
kiwi tree and kohl rabi. I also sow Swiss chard annually despite our family of five detesting the space. There’s something about the Bright Lights variety that makes me smile in the summer as it fills the vegetable patch with shades of pinks and yellows.
Another I find little success with, but am loathe giving up, is the Globe artichoke. Every year this perennial vegetable bears fruit I feel like an accomplished gardener as the gigantic leaves and incredible height
scream “look what I managed to do!” but I’ve yet to pick an artichoke at the right time. It’s always far too unripe or so ripe it’s full of fluff when I cut into it!
I’ve decided to use this eye catching beast as a border plant now, that way I can let the purple heads form without worrying about missing the short picking season.
So tonight is the night that we pretend we’ve already dug over the fertile soil, that the snow is a lovely memory where we forget about the freezing cold and concentrate on the mammoth snowman we built, and the hosepipe is out of hiding as the ground hasn’t seen moisture for over a week!
We will both put our cases forward for what we’d like to include. Although I used to be a keen vegetable gardener, I have now passed the reins to my husband as my career makes it hard to give them the daily care they
need. The borders and pots are my domain! So I have to state each case clearly as he’ll be the one that makes sure they grow and ensures we receive a bumper crop.
I have already planted my peas and beans as a friend told me that this could be done in November. I wasn’t entirely convinced, so I used a new area for these rather than taking up space in the patch. Tonight I’ll be
- No potatoes – this could have been due to the very wet summer we had but our crops take up so much space and never produce enough to feed a family of five for more than a week, so I say we buy from our local grocer instead.
- No runner beans – they do look pretty but really, once picked they take time to prepare. So many come into season at once that it is impossible to eat them all at once, so they need slicing for freezing.
- More Swiss Chard – Yes despite earlier protests I am determined to find a way to cook it that makes it desirable to the family!
- Extra sweet corn – there’s just never enough to go round!
I’ll let you know how I get on!
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matupplevelser/4643773705/