Friday, 9 April 2010

Getting Going in the Garden

I love that so many people are becoming more and more enthusiastic about growing their own produce. Allotments waiting lists are several years long and eager gardeners are turning to gardens, patios, balconies and windowsills in a bid to give life to tasty, fresh, home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs.

If you haven’t tried it yet, do give it a go – it’s easier than you think and so satisfying – there’s nothing like popping into your back garden instead of the local supermarket for super fresh produce that you’ve grown yourself!

Pete and I have been growing an increasing variety and volume of vegetables for several years, increasing the space year on year, and we’ve finally reached our goal of converting our whole back garden into a kitchen garden. This year we’ll be growing many vegetables we’ve grown before (potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, cabbages, leeks, sugar snap peas, peppers, sweet corn, carrots and parsnips) and a selection of things we haven’t (purple sprouting broccoli, lettuce and gherkins).

Plus, this year, we’re finally growing some fruit too. With the exception of a couple of low yield attempts at growing strawberries, and a wild blackberry bush that sprang up in the garden many years ago - much to our dismay, they’re a bugger to get rid of - we’ve no experience with fruit so are very excited.

From a reputable garden centre we purchased a self-fertilising Cox’ Orange Pippin apple tree trained into a flat fan so it can grow in front of the wall and fence without intruding too far into the garden plus raspberry canes and a rhubarb plant (I know it’s technically a vegetable not a fruit but hey, I included tomato in the list of vegetables…). In a pound shop (so not sure whether they’ll survive or grow very well) we also bought a different species of raspberry, a red gooseberry and a tayberry.

I’m really excited about our produce in the year to come!

We still have cabbages and leeks to harvest, the cabbages didn’t do too well – we planted them late and last year gave them very little sunshine to boot. But spring has given them a bit of a boost and some are finally hearting up. We’d better harvest the leeks before they bolt to flower too.

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Cox' Orange Pippin

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Rhubarb and fruit canes

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Winter cabbage

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Seedlings

[Note: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but it was queued to post behind some others. The photos are from March 23rd; the seedlings have come on quite a bit since then and we've just harvested the leeks and some of the cabbage]

6 comments:

Heavenly Housewife said...

I love the idea of growing my own fruit and veg, but have been pretty unsuccessful, so i gave up. That being said, i do grow my own herbs and have 3 fab mature apple trees in the garden. I love looking out of the window and seeing apples on them. Theres something so cool about it. It was actually one of the reasons I wanted this house :D
HOpe you have a wonderful weekend daaaaaaahling.
*kisses* HH

TimKinnaird said...

I'm most impressed by your cabbage. We have great difficulty in 1. getting them to form a nice tight cabbage shape (head?) and 2. cabbage white. The whole netting business is tiresome. What variety is it? One of the best bits about gardening is working out whats grows well in your bit of earth. We started off trying to grow a little bit of everything. Refined it over the years to grow alot of a few things - mainly squash and raspberries!Tim

Greedy Diva said...

V jealous. I kill everything I try to grow. Can't even grown herbs. GD.

Kavey said...

Tim, these are winter cabbages, we have had lots of success in past with Savoys, I can't remember what these are, will check but, this year, they just didn't get enough sun during late summer and autumn so didn't heart up when expected.

That said, they did start hearting up in Feb/Mar finally and I should have picked them all then.

Being lazy, we only picked them yesterday when they'd bolted but what I did was pull leaves off the thick (brussel sprout like) stems individually.

GD, I reckon herbs are much harder to grow than veg!

Pete Favelle said...

They were January Kings - the main problem was that I was late getting them out, and then we had a lousy late summer/autumn. So as Kavey says, they really didn't heart up for us either last year.

As for cabbage whites - we don't bother too much about it. I'll manually check the leaves and rub off what eggs / caterpillars I find, but obviously I don't get them all.

In general, they only seem to nibble the outer leaves. I have a very lazy approach to pests, I don't mind paying a little 'nature tax' to save myself the effort and expense of netting or spraying :)

Foodycat said...

We've just signed a 2 year lease, so I am feeling brave enough to commit to asparagus! And some spuds (maris piper), tomatoes, sweetcorn and squash. I'm enthusiastic, he's accomplished, so hopefully we'll get some reasonable crops this year!