I have been an avid veggie grower since the late 1990s when I was introduced to gardening as part of my treatment for agoraphobia. I have managed to grow something every year since then, even if at times it was only a pot of basil and some windowsill lettuce because I was living in a rented flat. My mum-in-law has also grown the occasional veggie or two when time, and garden space has allowed.
When we moved to our current home one of the things we looked forward to most was having a bit more space for veggies but once the flower beds were marked out and a big bit of lawn left for Bubs to hare up and down during the summer there was only enough space for two 1m² raised beds in which to grow veggies.
Over time we’ve added a wooden trough and some pots on the patio plus a few more pots tucked down behind the conservatory. This little setup has served us well but our yields have been a bit hit and miss. Last year we were inundated with tomatoes but the lettuce fell a bit flat and then I had an altercation with some parsnips which dampened my gardening ardour a little. Did you know that parsnip leaves can cause chemical burns!? No neither did I until I badly burned both of my hands and my left leg while thinning out the parsnip patch during the summer.
At the end of the year we were very lucky to reach the top of the waiting list for one of the local allotments. Our plot is huge, measuring at 9m by 6m, and hadn’t had very much done to it by the previous occupant so we were essentially starting with a blank canvas. Over the winter we let it go fallow but now that spring is approaching we’re starting to lay the groundwork.
At the top of the plot (adjacent to the path) is our potato bed and next to that will be runner beans and peas. In the middle there will be five raised beds for fruit and one for Bubs to mess about in. Finally at the front of the plot will be four raised beds, each measuring 2m², and these will contain the bulk of our veggies.
Here at home our windowsills are covered in propagators with teeny tiny seedlings in them. Tomatoes, onions and cabbages, all spindly and fragile but coping well with the ministrations of an inquisitive toddler. Upstairs the spare room is playing host to two different varieties of potato and the old veggie patch is having a makeover (aka a bit of digging) to make way for a greenhouse.
It’s all very exciting!