Well I don’t know if it’s just the nice spring weather today, or because I have been watching my Land Girl DVD’s recently, but I have been inspired to create a veggie, herb and fruit garden! I’m not sure how this new hobby is going to progress, but I am starting it with much enthusiasm and have decided to plot my progress through this blog.
Day 1 of new hobby
I love the idea of getting fresh veggies and fruit straight from my garden. When my sister and I were little girls we grew lots of veg in our back garden. We grew courgettes/marrows, raspberries, runner beans and I think a few pumpkins here and there. We had the good fortune of growing up with a big old house behind our garden, which had a fabulous fruit and veg patch with huge bounties of fresh produce – I suppose that is what inspired us. But time and age came upon us and I suppose we must have grown out of that phase. The big old house was knocked down and five houses built to replace them. In the house directly behind ours three old fruit trees were kept, so we did occasionally accidentally knock a few plums off into our hands. In the last 10 years or so I have had countless pots of herbs which some have died and some have stuck around for a few years before eventually succumbing to the slugs or frost. So I have sort of kept my interest in growing my own produce, but not had the time or inclination to properly dedicate to keeping them alive.
I am a keen jammer so in the past 5 years or so have collected apples, blackberries and plums from anyone who will let me. Why is it that people have fruit trees and don’t pick or eat the fruit? The past couple of years our neighbours fruit trees haven’t yeilded much as they don’t maintain their trees, so last summer we bought a couple of variety of apples and a plum tree. So I have had a sort of interest of recent. We also still have our raspberry plants from when I was little. They grow like weeds in our garden and every year we get hundreds and hundreds of juicy ripe raspberries to eat. Last year we had so many there are still some in the freezer!
My sort of interest in growing my own fruit and veg has also been stirred by my recent purchase of the BBC Land Girls series on DVD. I completely missed out on seeing them on the telly but thought I would treat myself to the whole 3 series as I love the wartime fashions and hair and beauty, so thought they would be a nice series to watch whilst working (I work from home on my own business http://www.bettybluesloungerie.com). I was right, they were a lovely nostalgic series and I loved the outfits instantly, even if they aren’t so historically accurate. So much so I bought these pair of dungarees so I could pretend to be a land girl myself.
I bought them in the dark blue colour though not in the red as pictured above. But anyway, when I put them on – I’m not sure what came over me – but I thought wouldn’t it be great if I had my own veggie patch so I could wear my land girl style outfits and have lots of fresh yummy food. (I have to mention my other passion is food – I love cooking and EATING!). So here I am having freshly come back from the garden center with lots of new plants and gardening paraphernalia, how middle aged am I!
I thought doing a blog would a) keep me motivated to actually look after my veggies, and b) be a great way for me to track the progress and failures/successes of my plot. Like any good hobbiest, my first port of call was to google the best plants to grow in the UK climate that hopefully are quite easy to grow and hard to kill. I then enthusiastically went off to the garden center and bought my kit!
Of course being a fashion conscious girly type of girl, I had to get colourful and stylish kit. My kit here were some fleece lined cloggy things for the summer (wellington boots for the winter obvs) and a two pack of gardening gloves. I was all set to go! I had my dungerees, shoes and gloves sorted, my plants from the garden center and some planters for planting my little shoots in. As I live with the parentals, all trowels and other such kit I already had at home, buuuuuut in the future I may have to get girly gardening tools, and DEFINITELY some sort of tea receptical because all gardeners have to have a special gardening cup for tea! Anyway I started to pot up my plants.
Things I have learnt.
1. I am really really weak and compost and soil is heavy.
2. Gardening gets you really dirty – shocking revelation I know!
3. It’s kinda hard work – it counts as exercise right? My doctor did tell me I need to exercise more……
4. I’m gonna need a gardening hat. My sunglasses are way too expensive to drop into dirt and I need to protect my milky white, pale and interesting, complexion!
5. I’m gonna need a nail brush to get the dirt out from under my nails!
Anyway, here is the results of my first ‘go’ at potting up
We have a tub with peas in with a trellis and wire growy uppy thing for them to climb. I used three of the sections of the tray I bought and spaced the little plants out evenly so they have lots of space each to grow. Then the small squat tub is my herb and salad tub. I put my rosemary and thyme plants in, then added five little rocket plants all spaced out so they will hopefully grow and spread nicely. Thyme and rosemary I have grown in the past with varied results, but on the whole they are pretty hard to kill. The rocket I have not grown before and fear the delicate little leaves may die easily in the cold weather. But rocket is one of my favourite salad leaves and I think it is important to grow things you actually like to eat – so it may survive if I tend to it with care and attention.
The rest of the tray of peas I popped in another tub and using some bamboo I found lying around the garden (hope Dad doesn’t need them!) I made a little structure for the peas to grow up.
By the time I had done these planters the temperature was starting to drop so I stopped for the day and covered my little plants up in case there is a frost. Fingers crossed they will survive the night and in the next few days I can plant up the rest of my little plants. The remaining veggies and fruit I am growing are:
Purple sprouting broccoli
Again these are all items that I love and eat regularly so that is why I picked them along with items which are good bountiful growers perfect for the English climate. Time will tell which are the most successful I suppose! The above items plus the fruit plants and trees we already have will hopefully provide me with much food in the coming seasons and I will probably include some recipes I make from the resulting bounty…………….if they grow that is. So keep tuned 🙂