I didn’t plan to leave it so long before I wrote again, but I should have known that once the spring arrived all my efforts would have to go into the garden. I was determined though, to pursue my small vegetable plot plan. I pottered about with it for a few weeks, but quite honestly, I wasn’t making much progress. The beds were marked out, I dug out some perennial weeds, planted ‘Champion of England’ Tall Pea and Lusaka sugar snap but I was struggling with the structure and how to keep it tidy. I had decided not to edge the beds with timber to save money, but I changed my mind and it dramatically moved the project on.
We were able to get a good deal on some timber and Peter and Thad put the whole garden together in just over a day. The difference was astonishing. Thad filled the beds with some soil I had stacked a couple of years ago, and within a couple of weeks I had planted salad leaves and lettuce long the edge of the shadiest bed, with some chervil and parsley also dotted amongst it. I had already sown carrots and parsnips before the edges had been made, consequently they are all over the place, but they are growing well. I mixed beetroot with onions, chard with leeks and Brown Dutch drying beans along the edge of the large middle bed. I am so happy with it all.
There is still a lot to do, and some of these crops will be replaced before the end of the summer with vegetables and salads to take us through the winter. My focus is on the winter. Whilst I am looking forward to courgettes, beans and peas, I am very aware that it will be challenging to reproduce this abundance during the winter and even more so in the hungry gap, April, May and early June. But for now, I was delighted to pick 200 grams of salad leaves and 250 grams of gooseberries today. The gooseberry bush was only planted in February and seems very happy in the shadiest bed. Gooseberries are a real reminder of seasonality. In an age where it is possible to buy almost any fruit or vegetable at any time of the year, it is still hard to find gooseberries. Such a treat, to have gooseberries stewed with a spoonful of local honey, delicious with my yogurt for breakfast on a beautiful sunny June morning.