This year I’ve had hard decisions to make with regard to what we would grow. I had been growing a bit of everything but finding we weren’t using some of the vegetables we grew, for example, too many leeks, so no leeks this year. We use all of the tomatoes we grow, fresh, roasted with other vegetables and frozen, turned into pasta sauces and bottled, chutneys, salsas, they all get used even the skins which I dry, grind down and sprinkle on pasta dishes and soups for more flavour. We use the butternut squashes, pumpkins, courgettes, runner beans and French beans. I have decided to grow all of these along with beetroot, lettuces, onions, and some new cucumbers grown in pots on the patio, peppers and chillies. We grow early and main crop potatoes too.
The potatoes were chitted in egg trays from February through to the last week in March when we got them in the garden. We had covered the beds with black plastic a few weeks before to help warm up the soil. I don’t dig, we have a layered garden, like lasagne, which we cover each Autumn with organic material and have been doing this for three years now. It has produced good results and we are nearly weed free!
I’ve started tomatoes, peppers and chillies indoors, as always, in February and I’ve now started beans, beetroot, onions and lettuce outside. Also the squash seeds are planted in pots indoors. The problem with the weather this year is that none of the tomatoes or peppers been hardened off yet and are still in my living room!
I am now starting to harden them off and hopefully will be able to get them in the greenhouse over the next couple of weeks, it’s still early but they need to be in the ground and my draughty greenhouse is not the place yet.
I will get them into my cold frames this week which are against the house in their own micro climate from there they will go into the greenhouse.
I’m no expert and am learning as I go along from some great resources which are out there if you want to start growing. It doesn’t take too much of my time and once it’s all in the ground I spend between 15 and 30 minutes a day keeping everything watered and tidied. It’s all worth it, to eat food that you have grown is a constant wonder to me. When I cook those fresh vegetables in season and frozen vegetables over the winter or use a batch of frozen or canned/bottled sauce in a meal, which I try to always cook from scratch, I’m so pleased that I know exactly what went into it.
Get some dirt under your nails and grow your own!