Kitchen Garden – What a Dilemma!
What a dilemma indeed. What do I do, now? The house is up for sale – it’s time to plan the Kitchen Garden for next year – but where will my Kitchen Garden be? Or, more to the point, will I have moved to a new house and will I have a Kitchen Garden in next spring or summer?
For the last 5 years I’ve planned then planted then nurtured tiny seedlings or bulbs with the knowledge (and a lot of good luck) that these magical and often miniscule objects would turn into incredibly tasty fruit and vegetables. But what do I do this autumn?
More and more seed and plant catalogues have landed on our doormat in the last few weeks. In past years, this was a very welcome sight, and demanded my immediate attention. Dropping the duster, slinging the mob back in its bucket, I would curl up on the settee and with Fizzi the dog keeping my feet warm would devour these colourful and informative catalogues with even more passion than I would the clothing or cosmetic leaflets (how sad was I?) But now they are a major source of frustration. The excitement I feel at reading about a new strain of Tomato, or Kale or Lettuce is tinged with a huge amount of uncertainty.
Do I plant some of my favourite vegetable plants or bulbs in big pots, and hope they over-winter well?
Do I start to sow seeds, such as Stripey Aubergines and early Tomatoes in my greenhouse in January (with a little help from my electric heated mats) in the hope that we will have moved in time to create a new Kitchen Garden for them all? A bit dicy, I think.
And where on earth will I plant my favourite Courgette, Tromboncino? These are so prolific, and are still producing masses of baby flowers and plants even now in mid-October. But it’s too late for them to ripen and grow. We must bite the bullet and pull them up to be added to the compost heap. What a sad ending to a very handsome plant.
These Tromboncino plants need a huge pot with masses of compost and water, and will clamber up canes to reach a staggering 8 or 9 foot? So it is difficult to plan these for next year. Would you believe that this year, these intertwined with Erik’s prize Grapevine – not the best combination of fruit and vegetables to be found in a Kitchen Garden!
The reality is that like a lot of people who ‘grow your own’, once you’ve worked hard at nurturing your seeds and plants, weeded and watered them, and, then the icing on the cake, you’ve tasted your own vegetables within hours of picking them, it is difficult to give it up. For Erik and myself, hopefully, it won’t be for long, and I do intend to plant a few things if possible to tide us over into next year.
For starters, I’ve already planted in my raised beds Leeks, Swiss Chard, Parsnips and, coming to the end, Carrots, both orange and purple.
Whether or not Erik and I get to eat them is beside the point. But I have been cultivating lots of herbs in pots, and have just ordered some Wild Garlic, Gourmet Shallots and Early Purple Wight Garlic bulbs from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight, to plant out in deep, wide pots so that they can move with us, wherever we end up. The Garlic Farm’s website is fun, informative and well-worth looking at.
The catalogues I look forward to most are those from Sarah Raven. They are incredibly
beautiful to look at, both the flower bulbs, seeds and plants, and the vegetable seeds. So full of tips and information that you can’t go wrong.
Sarah’s flower catalogue is an incredible mass of colour. She gives us mixes of flowers that are so stunning, and her cut flower meadows mixes are just simply beautiful. It makes me want to buy a field and just scatter the seeds in abandon, then wait to see the summer picture unfold in front of my eyes.
All these photographs, taken from Sarah’s catalogues, are by the award-winning photographer, Jonathan Buckley. He really brings both flowers and vegetables vibrantly alive. The richness of the flower colours spring out of the catalogue pages, and Sarah’s choices of colour mixes for her flowers are simply mind-blowing. She teaches us so much about using different hues of shades to create the most amazing flower ‘pictures’.
I’m sure that when Erik and I finally sell our house, and find a new one, that Sarah’s catalogue will once again be the one I will use for both setting up a flower garden (especially for cut flowers) and for helping me make my mind up for starting a new Kitchen Garden.
Her huge choice of Sweet Peas and flowers that will attract the bees that will pollinate both flower and vegetable plants is guaranteed to be a winner. Let’s face it, we need those bees so badly, and they need food, so it’s good to give them a helping hand. The beautiful blue flower of Borage is one of my favourite bee-friendly plants, but there are many choices in Sarah’s catalogues. So do have a look, you won’t be disappointed. In the next week or so, I will be drawing up my wishlist of the vegetable, salad and herb seeds that I hope to grow next year, and I will put them on the blog. I want to choose my favourite foods that Erik and I enjoy to both grow and eat, and those choices will be the start of my next Kitchen Garden. Follow the journey with us to create the next one – having learnt a lot of lessons on this first Kitchen Garden, maybe this next one will be even better.
So the dilemma with my Kitchen Garden is beginning to unravel – the seeds of an idea are beginning to form. All I need now is a new house and garden – but probably, more important, I need a great deal of patience. Maybe I should take up Meditation?
To have a full look at all Sarah Raven’s plants, seeds and bulbs for flowers and cut flower meadow mixes, and for the vegetable, salad and herb collections, Please Click Here.