Autumn Garden

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.

3 comments

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  1. chriswhitegables

    Hi Con,

    I’ve been following your posts with interest and enjoyment. You’re a good writer.
    I was touched what you have written about our family.
    Your grandmother an I were blessed to have George and Winefrede as parents. They were special people in a special generation. And it’s lovely to see your perspective. We of course didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, just mum and dad, but your perspective is spot on. It’s only later on that you appreciate fully what you had.

    Thanks for reminding me.

    Take care

    Chris (great uncle if you must but Chris is fine!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • essentialonion

      Hi Chris
      Thank you its very strange that I feel close to a great grandfather I never met. Did Marg ever tell you about when I was little and it was just mum and I living in Cemetery Road. I was about eleven I think. There was a man watching over us, mum particularly. He was a spirit I knew that. Eventually I was able to describe him to mum; he was elderly, with a trilby hat on and a sort of greyish beige cardigan. Grandma showed me pictures which I had never seen and yes it was George. It was a real time of vulnerability for mum and I but he watched over us. It may sound a bit strange but there is an element of Irish feyness in the family. I feel very connected to my roots. Thank you for commenting. I also think food and cooking is a strong theme that runs through our family. I think my three times great Grandmother was a cook in a big house in Parkgate or Neston. Hope you are well, love Con xxxxxxx

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