The Joy of Veg

What a shame. I was hoping to take my new webcam widget out for a spin in the back garden today and show you our lovely vegetable patch, but it’s so miserable and foggy here that I’ll have to save that for when the weather is better. Instead I used the flash to take some photos to show you what’s going on out there. Admittedly it’s not an awful lot at the moment, but DJ has big plans!

Apparently it’s about this time of year that vegetable growers start thinking about planting their year’s crops. DJ is getting impatient as his mate at work has a greenhouse and his veg is apparently already flourishing like mad. We currently don’t have one, although DJ has a cold frame and is busy with lots of squared paper planning out his plot while he waits for the soil to warm up so he can sow.

More and more people are turning over part of their back garden to the joy of veg, not just because it’s a cheap way to get fresh produce, but often because it tastes better and also so they know where it’s come from. If you grow your own, you can ensure for example that your produce is grown without the use of pesticides. According to plant companies, in recent years vegetable seeds have begun outselling flower seeds for the first time since the Dig for Victory campaign during World War Two. Plus there are massive waiting lists for allotments. In Sandy Bedfordshire the waiting list is apparently ten years! Crazy!

Gardening is a healthy hobby and as anyone who’s grown their own will know, there is nothing more delicious than the taste of home grown veg. Unlike some of the stuff you get in supermarkets nowadays, home grown tomatoes actually taste of something, lettuces are quick to grow and absolutely gorgeous (as long as you give them a good wash to get rid of any stray caterpillars or slugs!), and you might think I’ve completely lost my mind but one of the most delicious things DJ grew last year was sweet corn. When you look at a can of the stuff I know it’s hard to get excited about it, but fresh from the garden, boiled and served with a little bit of butter believe me, it is a TRUE delicacy. Mmm…!

I can’t claim to be much of a gardener myself. True, by some miracle I still have a cactus and a money plant that two of my friends bought me that I’ve somehow managed not to exterminate. But I think that’s probably down to DJ’s happy influence. Gardening is in his blood, you see. His granny has won prizes for her vegetables for the past 17 years – not bad for somebody living in Scotland! And for most of the year she doesn’t have to darken the doors of the local supermarkets, at least not to buy veg. Apparently she freezes a lot of it in a big chest freezer and that keeps them in peas, beans etc. for the year. But DJ is determined to get me to muck in with the vegetable patch this year, and I thought it would be a useful frugal exercise to learn to grow my own veg.

This year should be the first year that we’ll be able to eat the asparagus DJ has been growing for the past three years, and he’s also planning to grow swedes, garlic, leeks, tomatoes (gardener’s delight, super marmande and brandy wine), basil, cucumber, borage, French beans, spinach, carrots, parsnips, the list goes on….

I’m not sure at this point whether DJ is going to give me a separate part of the plot to look after myself or act as an assistant/unskilled labourer. I think the latter might be the safest option, but I’m looking forward to learning all about it. And tucking into the result!

Do you grow your own veg? Or do you have the opposite of green fingers!  Got any good gardening tips?

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5 Responses to The Joy of Veg

  1. rik says:

    I didn\’t take an interest in growing anything until my late 30\’s, it\’s never too late. The best book I\’ve seen is this :http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grow-Your-Own-Vegetables-Larkcom/dp/071121963X/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203421721&sr=1-12It\’s pretty much got everything you need with no fancy bits. At the moment, we\’re in a house without much of a garden but we should be moving again later in the year. Hopefully I\’ll be able to get back to it. And tomatoes are loads better straight from the greenhouse!

  2. Christine says:

    It\’s a good time filling occupation working in the garden and costs nothing to labour there. Family and myself planted lots of herbs (mints, parsleys, rosemary, thymes, chives) around the inherited sage bush last year so have a ready supply to liven things up. We\’ve got loads of strawberries too and rhubarb. It\’s too cold to start at the moment but we are planning to plant patio fruit trees (apples and pears) as well as blackberries to add to the few raspberry canes, gooseberry bush and loganberry we have.  Other than that – onions, carrots, beetroot, peas, runner beans, potatoes, shallots, lettuce, purple sprouting broccoli, marrows, parsnips …. depends when we run out of space.

  3. Karen says:

    I\’ve been growing my own now for 2 years and I LOVE IT! Everything tastes so much better. The sweetcorn is to die for! It is not hard work, I work full time and still find enough time to keep on top of things . I think the secret is little and often, once the bulk of the digging has been completed, and dont try to dig the whole lot in one go, because you will become disillusioned and give up, try an hour at the most each day, so long as you either cover what you\’ve dug with cardboard or black plastic to keep out the light ( the black plastic also has the advantage of warming the soil) and regular hoeing will weaken and see of any weeds. I cant wait to get sowing again this year! Dont forget that potatoes and lots of veg can be grown in tubs in the garden or on the patio, or anywhere that you have space. I think everyone should give it a go.

  4. darkrose says:

    ive been growing veggies for years. Until last year all i had was and L shaped yard about 12 ft long by 6ft wide and you name it i grew it i have runners in huge pots either side of the kitchen window with string going across the the window so the climbers could grow across strawberries and tomatoes out of hanging baskets pototes growing out of my old washing machine drum (that was interesting as i couldn\’t remove the whole of the back so it still sort of span, made it much easier to water) i had flowers you can add to salads growing out of little pots tried to  the trelless my garden one year was soo full of greenery my partner begged my to put some bedding plants in just for once for more colour it was a complete jungle mind you as long as he had a space to sunbathe (all be enough space to put a recliner out )he was ok, got given one tip though stale beer not only good for trapping slugs but good feed for tommies too so if you should so happen to have a party and theres dregs in the bottom of peoples cans save it, i have moved luckly to a place which has a big garden and have planted more fruit trees though my first years crop was dissapointing this year i am more prepared using old tyres this year for my spuds as the old washing machine drum had to stay behind, hunting around for pallets now or looking on the freecycle site for a proper potting shed

  5. darkrose says:

    ok instead of wasting money and not to mention paper in getting my usual monthly mag, ive joing the gyo site http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/grapevine/index.php
    and have become hooked and its free to join yay fun freindly people shareing ideas and advice

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