Now that you say you are going to stop growing them?
|April sown hardy annuals|
I have taken my bat home! As a no dig gardener I cannot claim to have stopped using my spade. Too many times have my best vegetables gone uneaten. Too often has my plaintiff expectant appeal “would you like leeks and greens tonight dear?” been witheringly rejected and I have been later served up with some fancy exotic concoction. I cannot add up the times that I have been unfavourably compared to Tesco. How often have I been reprimanded for not producing ephemeral things like basil, coriander and salad leaves to order?
And why are my best vegetables ready when we are not there? I am sulking!
I must confess that the decision has been eased by the knowledge that lovely fresh vegetables are sold in the village as farm-gate sales. Not a fancy trendy farm shop that is a supermarket in disguise. Just homegrown stuff or more often fresh vegetables from the wholesale market. No silly stuff about buying ‘organic’.
For years I have opted to buy their big bags of firm ripe onions. We just love them and Brenda gets through massive quantities all year round. Their ‘dirty’ huge red carrots are a joy to behold. Bought in from a farmer whose main market is ‘processing’ they are unblemished, firm, juicy and delicious. Why should I grow cauliflower and cabbage when not only are their’s cleaner they are so very cheap? I will miss my own sprouts - especially what I call sprout sprouts at the end of the season in late winter.
|Well perhaps I exaggerate.|
|Ungraded I pick out the big ones|
|I will miss this|
|......and especially these|
|I won't miss these|
|I stumbled on Big Boy this year as wonderful marmande-type Albenga had sold out. It was absolutely superb|
And modern pencil french beans are so effortless, long cropping, high yielding, fresh, tender and tasty. Two successional sowings supply us most of the Summer. I will continue to grow the perennial vegetables asparagus and rhubarb.
Ironically I grew wonderful carrots ‘Norwich’ bought from Mole seeds for the first time last year. (I have recently discovered how to properly use environmesh and let the plants push the material high rather than me support it).
This year we have grown carrots again which do so well on our sandy soil. Unfortunately I mislaid my large packet of ‘Norwich’ and had to satisfy myself with a couple of very small packets from the rather pathetic range at the garden centre. They have grown very well, are clean, high yielding, shapely and carrot fly free, but unusually lack flavour. They took their first carrot delivery of this year’s crop at the ‘farm shop in July …. and the rest of my own stayed in the ground!
|The environmesh remained for a while as a stroud|
I will miss my super-sweet sweet corn. But not more scrabbling around to lift misshapen new potatoes.
What to do with my vegetable plot?
This post is not really about not growing vegetables. It is what to do instead and to show you some pictures of my haphazard annuals flung down in a strop. Pity I did not ask Peter to take better pictures than these of my own....
|My direct sown mesembryanthemum would have preferred a sunnier summer|
|These will seed themselves and come back every year|
|Salvia horminum was much admired on my open day|
|Escholtzia can be very persistent but that's alright by me|
|My parsley self sows every year and joined the party|
|I will be collecting seed to scatter in Lyndi's field|
|I will grow more 'everlasting' annuals next year|
What’s more after nye on ten years of adding my home made charcoal the surface is open, porous and in ideal condition for broadcasting of seed.
Might I add absence of cultivation bringing weed seed to the surface and years of preventing weeds seeding - occasionally failing - gives scattered flower seed a clear weed free run.
|I 'throwed' at the edge of the farm field but only a few 'growed'|
One reason for my farm field edge failure was that my sandy soil often gets dry at the surface when so often the weather turns dry in late April and throughout May. My hardy annual seeds were sown at the very end of April. The difference between my present success and previous failure was the nearness of my hosepipe and a few light waterings with finger-over-the-end squirts simulating rain. In April the ground was still well charged with water and only the surface was dry. Only two or three five-minute waterings were needed to get the seed going.
After my flamboyant haste to scatter the seed over half of my 150 square metre veg garden some gaps became apparent. I was able to fill them with several spadefuls of seedlings moved from more densely sown patches. These clumps were well watered in. (Seedlings planted in clumps grow out a long way to find their own space)
Despite my claim for absence of weed seed this is not quite true. I did a little hand weeding and when they were very small I hoed out a few weeds on a dry windy day. I routinely glyphosate spray round my whole garden so any weeds at the margin or in a few larger gaps got a squirt.
Fifteen generous Mole seed half packets have this year fought it out and have provided more than four months of colour. Unfortunately by November the nasturtiums had taken over - but the first frost has now taken them!
So what shall I do next year?
Probably something very similar to this one. It has looked at times really attractive and the riot of colour was admired on my open day. There is a fantastic range of hardy annuals available and there are many more I can grow and no doubt many of this years plants have seeded. I will report further next year.
My previous vegetable garden was also unorthodox
My previous vegetable garden was also unorthodox
I take every opportunity to promote Mole seeds
Link and relink to my pieces about charcoal
We ate some Big Boys from a commercial source last week. They tasted nice but not as good as my own. Tasty Toms