I have been researching how to make best use of my raised garden beds on the patio. I want some sort of hardy winter salad leaves, a green veg for stir fry and a vegetable for steaming. I have decided to try potatoes in time for Christmas, also herbs and garlic. I have loved going out onto the patio and harvesting a crop; being outdoors with a purpose is calming as well as grounding.
My great grandfather George was a serious gardener and apparently had an allotment. Somehow I feel very connected with him. He was a man who struggled with depression all his life; this was probably as a result of seeing a bomb fall on his family home, knowing his mother and two sisters were all killed. PTSD wasn’t recognised in those days. The fact that he had a successful family life and business came down to the fact that he was lucky enough to marry my great grandmother Winifred. She was 13 years younger than him, and had a great sense of fun, despite having a physical disability and ill heath most of her life. She had true resilience. This is my tribute to them. Although I never met either of them, my grandmother and great uncle are testimony to the family life they provided and work ethos they promoted. There is a very family-oriented culture with a focus on support to find your niche in life.
My research for my autumn planting took me to a website called VerticalVeg and their excellent free resources. They focus on ‘growing food in small spaces’. I have bought some small vegetable plants to get started: kale, chard, French garlic (2 varieties; Thermidrome and Dario), (Charlotte) seed potatoes, as well as Senshyu variety yellow onion sets.
The VerticalVeg site also gives guidance on growing pea and fava bean shoots which appear to be fairly fast cropping and nutritious. They can be used in stir fries and salads. I’ve bought Hodmedod’s organic dried fava beans and peas. I plan to get all these plants and seeds into the raised beds by this weekend; I’ll then decide on a hardy salad leaf crop. VerticalVeg recommends land cress, lambs lettuce and rocket. I want leaves you can cut. I’m interested in Mooli radish and baby leeks. I am going to be busy this weekend.
Another general advice website to look at is garden organic; which provides helpful fact and advice sheets.
We are planning to buy a walk-in greenhouse in the spring. I will keep you updated on progress over the coming months.