This year starts with digging, a plan, and a little bit of history.
When I was a child I grew stuff, mainly tomatoes, sweet corn and, one of my favourites, radishes. From secondary school onwards life got in the way and my thoughts of growing lovely veg’ vanished. It was only when I started visiting farm shops that my mind turned once more to cultivating my own food. A move to cooking with (mostly) seasonal produce, gave me even more of a push and last year I took the plunge.
I am lucky that my house came with a greenhouse. The thing was missing a few panes, and one of the automatic window openers did not work, but the aluminium frame was in good repair. At the beginning of 2011 I replaced all the broken glass, gave it a clean, and then took another big step: I dug up some turf to create a vegetable plot.
The five sections are one metre wide and three metres long and are next to a bay tree and a small herb garden. That first year was a rush. I took up the turf in February, but it digging over the ground was harder than I had expected. Nor did I think about planting seeds until the beds were ready. The upshot was that nothing got in the ground until the end of May.
As a result I had very few tomatoes, the runner beans climb no more than a metre and the parsnips struggled through yielding a poor crop. This year I was determined that things would be different.
It is the start of March. All the dead plants have been removed, the soil has been turned over a number of times, and while there was very little frost to break it up further, even an amateur such as myself can tell that it is healthier. There was even, at the end of last year, some homemade compost dug in.
The only vegetables still in the ground are a few spring onions that are proving rather tasty and some French parsley. I have some onions sets, the seed potatoes are chitting and I feel a lot more prepared for 2012.