How does your garden grow?

The thought crossed my mind today that I should be blogging about the G20 protestors or perhaps our MPs and their strange attitude to the public purse – ie. that it’s somehow an extension of their own and there to fund everything from their TV viewing to their parents’ homes.

But then I stepped into our garden to hang out the washing and began admiring our burgeoning vegetable patch. And it struck me how much more useful it is compared to some of the individuals who spend their lives in the House of Commons, supposedly in our service, or those who spend their time causing trouble in the name of protest. Vegetables are cheaper, more productive, better value for money and better looking to boot. They don’t vote themselves hefty pay rises every year and they don’t expect the populace to pay for their spouses’ questionable entertainment. What’s more, it’s easy to sit in our greenhouse, pottering with the plants and dreaming of the produce we’ll hopefully be harvesting this year and forget all about the gloomy things going on in the world. Sometimes I go there purely to do so. It’s like a little haven.

And now that we’ve hit April, it feels as though spring is here to stay. The daffodils are up and the birds are squawking – DJ recently had to dig out his earplugs as the dawn chorus keeps waking him up – and the vegetable plot is taking shape once again. I planted my potatoes a few weeks ago – Ulster Chieftain and Mayan Gold – and got excited yesterday when I discovered that they’re starting to sprout. The Ulster Chieftains have green/purple sprouts while the Mayan ones are red. I planted them in recycled compost bags DJ kept from last year – mainly to avoid them going mad and taking over my one designated vegetable plot. As we’ve found in previous years, they tend to overshadow everything else in the veg bed.

In DJ’s beds, garlic, peas and broad beans are busy getting themselves established, and the asparagus is starting to come up. My own veg bed still looks a bit bare but the white onions I planted in February are also starting to sprout, although I’ve also recently planted some red onions – Red Baron – which have yet to do anything. I’ve still yet to plant my squash and pumpkin seeds, though, as it’s not quite warm enough yet. I fancy growing some French beans at the back of the bed, as DJ grew some last year and they looked brilliant.

Things in the greenhouse are busy too – our tomato plants are well away and so are some chilli plants and lettuces. We’ve also been sowing some annuals for the flower beds and baskets, such as nasturtiums, lobelia and petunias. DJ’s nasturtiums are well established but mine have yet to come up as I planted them later. DJ works with a number of keen gardeners and they are competing this year to see who can grow the tallest sunflower. Very exciting! DJ assures me he has a secret ingredient, but any suggestions you might have are more than welcome.

We’ve been fairly frugal on the hanging baskets front too. DJ divided some primrose plants last year and these have flourished in the raised flower bed, so I used some of them in my baskets. But when I realised I didn’t have any foliage to add to them, instead of buying some ivy plants I helped myself to some of DJ’s pea plants and I think they look great. I think it gives the window box a slightly cottagey feel to it and hopefully we’ll get some nice peas too.

I am taking a break next week. But before I go, I meant to tell you about the book of moneysaving tips I’ve written which came out this week. It’s called The Frugal Life: How to spend less and live more and is published by the Good Life Press and available on Amazon – there’s a little box with more details on it further down the blog if you want to find out more. Ironically, despite being a guide to surviving the credit crunch, the book was nearly crunched itself when the first publishers pulled out. But luckily it found a good home in the end.

Take care and have a great Easter xxx Piper

Are you a gardener? How is your vegetable plot doing so far this year and what do you plan to grow? Leave a message and tell me all about it.

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5 Responses to How does your garden grow?

  1. Christine says:

    You are lucky with your garden in that you are so much further south and so you are about a month ahead of us up here. I\’ve only put potatoes, onion sets and shallot sets in to date because we don\’t start planting seriously till next week here. I popped some carrot seeds in tubs about ten days ago because it was so nice and we had the heaviest frost of the year on Saturday night so I\’m not expecting to see those. Will have to replant next week. Mind you there are about 4 spring cabbages that have overwintered which I can use and the first rhubarb was pulled yesterday. However there are trays of seeds in all the sunny window sills at home – tomato, pepper, cucumber, marrow, courgette, leek and sunflower (never mind the height but hope for the seeds to use if the birds don\’t get there first). No room to cook in the kitchen but plenty of seeds in trays!Good luck with the book!

  2. Christine says:

    PS I\’m glad to see you made full use of the good weather to dry the washing (good frugal) and full use of the dreaded plastic bag (good frugal and better than an early landfill) to grow produce in – don\’t forget though that you will need to put some fork holes in them to allow for drainage if it ever rains!

  3. AK says:

    Your book is out of stock, btw.

  4. Christine says:

    Anyone wonder who is looking after the garden at this busy time of the year whilst someone is having a holiday she asks laughing.

  5. piper says:

    Thanks AK – Amazon is constantly reordering and you can still put an order in when it\’s not in stock. Cheers Piper xx

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