I, like most of the adult population if the media is to be believed, intend to grow my own this year. In these austere times the whole of the UK will be digging up any lawn that has not already been turned into hardstanding and planting vegetables.It’s all very trendy. No food miles. No unnecessary chemicals. No lining Mr Tesco’s pocket. All this and it’s good for you physically and mentally to boot. Why wouldn’t you do it?
This won’t be my first year in the veg patch. If you have been following my ramblings you will have read all about last year’s efforts. This year, though, I intend to try a bit harder. First of all I tootled off to Harlow Carr Gardens to a course on how to grow veg where I picked up lots of tips and a few freebies. Then I got some raised beds built. Obviously I didn’t do it myself. I wanted it to happen and for them to still be standing when harvest comes so I paid a professional to build them for me. That makes the average cost per vegetable pretty high this year but they will pay for themselves in the long run I tell myself.
A seed catalogue dropped through my letter box and I perused it at length carefully selecting what I thought might be the best varieties for my family’s needs. Again I limited myself to things we might actually eat and duly ordered my seeds back in January. Since then I have been waiting. I am not confident to do anything other than plant directly into the ground, lacking both a greenhouse and the patience to replant seedlings. And so the earliest that it appeared that I could get started was March.
It has been March for two weeks but it’s been far too chilly for me to get out in the garden. I hate the cold. However,as I raised the blinds this morning and looked out at a bright day with no clouds and no wind, I had a good feeling. Perhaps today would be the day. However, first things first. Hoover and mop the floor downstairs, change the sheets, run child to party in Guiseley, counsel eldest child regarding flakiness of her best friend who has let her down, deliver birthday present, prepare eat and clean up food for six three times, hang out washing, listen to youngest two read, clean school shoes. And the finally get out into the garden.
And so the first quandary. What to plant where? I have three raised beds of varying size and depth. I learned a bit on my course about crop rotation but not enough to understand it properly. Something about legumes together and brassicas somewhere else. I stood and looked at them for a bit and then decided that if I didn’t do something soon it would be dark. Having decided which bed should do what I then worried about the direction of my rows, the lengths of them, how much room to leave for subsequent sowings. It’s a minefield!
When I finally got going the sun had dropped down behind the moor and there was a distinct chill in the air. But I set to and marked out my drills, dropped in the seeds at the allotted spacing and marked them so I know what to expect where. And so all I have to do now is watch and wait. Having had such bumper crops last year my expectations are quite high . We shall have to wait and see.