Vegging out

Well, considering the lecture I gave everybody yesterday on growing your own veg, you will glad to hear I’m helping DJ plant out more vegetables today on his day off. After months of inactivity, the plot is starting to come alive again – and the asparagus bed is incredible! This will be the first year we’ll be able to eat some of it – it takes about three years to grow it from seed. As you can see, DJ built a little frame to keep it from falling over, but now some of it has grown way past it and is even, dare I say it, taller than me!

But while plenty of things we planted have come up, including three different varieties of potatoes, peas, horseradish, and courgettes, a few things haven’t, which is worrying DJ a little bit. So we are going to plant them again today. He did grow some green manure in one of the patches and dug it in a while ago, and the instructions said that you couldn’t plant anything initially for a couple of weeks while the green manure settled in, but it should have been fine by the time we planted the veg, which is all a bit puzzling. Maybe the seeds were duds. Who knows? This is all the fun of vegetable growing!

Besides the veg plot, we’ve also been wondering what to do with the rest of garden and particularly the flower borders, if that’s a grand name for what we have at present, which is a few shrubs, a couple of flowers and a whole heap of weeds! Well, to be fair, some parts of the garden are mature and look good thanks mainly to the foresight and planting of the first owners of our house. But besides DJ’s fabulous vegetable patch, we’ve neglected the rest of the garden because until this year we’ve concentrated on updating the 1970s décor inside our house.

But planting up a garden can cost an awful lot of money, and we want to avoid spending too much cash on plants and shrubs that then might take years to fill out. So we’ve been taking cuttings of things such as our lovely euphorbias which are evergreen and quickly take up lots of room, and looking also to maximise certain plants that are wasted elsewhere in the garden and hidden by other stuff by moving them somewhere else. Plus we’re going to plant out some annual seeds we already have such as nasturtiums, nigella and busy lizzies etc. to get quick colour.

However, I am wondering whether this false economy given perennials will keep coming back every year and you have to keep planting annuals. Although I suppose as long as you plant self-seeding ones or collect the seeds, as you can with nasturtiums for example, then it’s not a bad idea.

DJ and I love nasturtiums as they are so colourful, flower for months and quickly fill out a border or hanging basket with just a couple of plants. So we have planted up a hanging basket each with three nasturtium seeds in a competition to see which one will do better. He of course is convinced his one will win the day. He is really the gardener so is likely to be more successful, but on the other hand he admits he’s a vegetable man and doesn’t really ‘do’ flowers!

Meanwhile, I have to report that we’ve both been out a bit this week and haven’t had a chance to get to grips with the…er…flightless partridge (aka squirrel) yet, so we’ve had to put it in the freezer until next week when hopefully we will sample its delights.

Let me know your frugal gardening tips. And have a great weekend!

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4 Responses to Vegging out

  1. rik says:

    You could always have the borders filled with wild flowers, (I refuse to call them weeds!). They take little looking after, can in lots of cases be as pretty as cultivated ones and of course if you choose the right ones, be edible (along with the nasturtiums!).

  2. Christine says:

    Collect the seeds from your nasturtiums for next year – that will save money. Visit the neighbours and see if you can take cuttings from plants which they have that you like. Keep an eye on the local church and school fund raising events where you may pick up plants, flowers, left over seeds. Put a request on freecycle to see if people are clearing out a border and have some plants that they can pass on. I picked up some packets of wild flower seeds via the BBC Breathing Spaces team just before dawn chorus day – so long as you leave these to die back and don\’t get tempted to tidy them up, they will come back year after year. Why not invest in some herb plants such as mint, thyme, chives, rosemary and sage which you can use in cooking and fill up your flower beds with pleasant smelling items that will stay year after year and be useful in the kitchen? About now you can pick up some good offers on half a dozen herbs from local garden centres! They look small now but in a year\’s time they will be quite a lot larger.

  3. sharron says:

    hi piper
    my advice is ….while on walks in local country side " borrow" a few cuttings from flowering bushes and plants that you like and see what you can get to root
    and plant herb borders , good at filling space , if you get hardy 1\’s they come back each year. and freeze the leaves so u get fresh herbs throughout the winter too

  4. David says:

    Watch out, Piper;  sounds like DJ could be having you on!  Like Rik says, you can eat the nasturtiums too, so \’Veg Man\’ should be able to grow them just fine.
    Reckoned to be good in salads (flowers and leaves) but I\’ve never tried, so don\’t know what quantities it\’s safe to use.
    But what I have tried is Pickled Nasturtium Seeds;  and they are yummylicious.
    (don\’t have a recipe to hand, but loads of options turn up if you Google it)

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