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?