Homegrown Harvest: An update from the Veggie Garden. September 09, 2016 16:16 2 Comments

I absolutely love this time of year but I am particularly giddy at the moment. The excitement is all about my teeny tiny front garden. Just a few months ago, it was a pretty uninspired shingle affair. (click the link for a reminder on the 'before' situation). And now... well... it is about to implode under the weight of tomatoes, runner beans, herbs, flowers and the promise of pumpkins.

Woo hoo, harvest has hit at D&F towers! 

The raised beds, built from old scaffold boards, are now completely obscured by flowers, foliage and produce. The hedges have been overrun by nasturtiums which are steadily climbing up, flowering all the way. My plans for a nice, orderly potager garden have gone out the window; replaced by a wild, excitable collection of fruit and veg that are literally having a rave up in the front garden. Boom. Happy days.

Here are a few things that I have learned from my first serious foray with a 'proper' veggie plot:

Sow Seeds: I used to bypass the seed stands at the local nursery. I preferred the safety of buying an actual plant I could see, unconvinced of my ability to keep anything alive from such small beginnings. But this worm has turned. Seeds are cheap. Seeds will germinate. Seeds are fun! They also allow you to grow in succession, attuned to your own personal eating requirements. Lovely stuff.

Water, water... and then water: This point may require a leap of faith or some kind of rewiring in your brain.. Watering plants is therapeutic. Don't think of it as a chore otherwise you'll hate it. Instead, embrace the, er, hose. Or watering can. Much more family friendly and less likely to offend the neighbours. Anyway, watering is a great way to unwind and relax after a busy day. You can do it with a glass of something lovely in one hand. You can water your plants in the dark, (as long as you are not too fussy about where the water goes). If you can collect rain water to use for the watering, all the better. 

Companion Planting: I have had lots of gorgeous bugs and beasties visit the veg garden in the last few months. I have also had a few 'uninvited'. Sowing nasturtium seeds and growing chives and marigolds in amongst my veggies has kept many of them at bay. Meanwhile, in the last week, the cavalry has arrived. A gang of frogs has just rocked up, no doubt to have a feast on the slugs. Hooray! I haven't had to use any sprays or nasties on my plants and they have still gone bonkers. Perfect. 

Flowers and Food: I really enjoy having a mix of flowers and food growing in the front garden. The bees seem to love it too and zoom around filling themselves with the pollen from a pumpkin flower, only to dash off to have a sniff of an anemone or nearby sweet pea. No rules. Which brings me onto...

The joy of experimentation: It is really easy to overlook the joy and the value of experimentation. Just 'giving it a go' is an attitude riddled with risk in the corporate world. For me, the best possible gift you can get from the garden is not just nice things to look at, sit within or eat, but the ability to be childlike again and try stuff out. Beetroot? I failed. That first batch of rocket? Rubbish. But pumpkins, beans and blackberries? I'm your girl. As for the rest, better luck next time.