The first year here we put in a veg patch, all pleased with ourselves that we had managed to get it done in time and our seedlings had taken off on the window sill.
We proudly planted out all our broccoli and courgettes and waited to watch them grow. They didn’t. Gradually they all got eaten by what we think was voles and those that did not get eaten did not grow. We quickly realised that our bright idea of putting the veg patch there meant that come the summer, the leaves on the trees would block out most of the sunlight from that area, lesson learnt. We also put up a small poly tunnel and tried to grow some tomatoes but that was not in the right place either and what did grow got munched by some freeloading opportunist!
We have a small walnut tree in the garden so that has provided us with a good crop of nuts. If you have ever peeled walnuts you will know that the casing stains your hands brown, usually this fades after several weeks and you have to hide your hands whilst in public in case people think you have just not bothered washing. The cherry trees did wonderfully well this year as well and the pigeons and blackbirds did allow us to share which was kind of them. We also got two apples on the eating apple tree we planted last year. Sadly the peach tree did not fruit this year, the late frost stopped it from blossoming. A fantastic surprise this year was the grape vine that we did not know was there. This is well hidden amongst the wisteria on the side of the lean to and this year suddenly decided to bear fruit! There was not enough to make wine but we have munched our way through juicy sweet proper grapes with pips in them, perfect.
We have grown lots of things successfully in the past so I know we can do it again, it is just a matter of working out what sort of soil is there and what sort of freeloaders are living hereabouts to work out the best way to have a fruitful garden. The one wonderful thing is that most of the herbs I have planted here have thrived, in fact one of the best ever buys was a 1euro organic rocket plant from Aldi, I planted it last year and it thrived, this year it has taken over the lettuce bed and is still going strong! Flowering is dying off now so I shall be collecting the seeds from that imminently.
Despite all the failures I love gardening, it is just one of the best things to do, if you do not worry too much about the outcome, getting down and dirty in the garden is such a wonderful thing to do and with practice and perseverance the rewards are huge.
These blogs are just short excerpts of much bigger chapters! I am currently working on getting a book published about our journey so far in order to assist funding for the Earthkin project. If you would like to be informed when the book is available, please subscribe to our newsletter, thank you.