Just when I needed cheering up


My seeds have arrived – and right when we are in the middle of gloom and mist and drizzle. And now it’s time to remind myself of why I ordered the seeds I chose, before I empty my ‘reserved seeds’ tin and begin to panic.

For something to deserve a place in my veg patch – which has now spread to include most of the borders, at least in part – it has to be either:

1. Difficult to find in the shops, even bearing in mind that I’m 30 miles from a large supermarket, like borlotti beans, for example:

2. An interesting variety that I’d not otherwise get, unless I moved to a flat above Borough Market, in which case I wouldn’t be veggie gardening. Say round courgettes, or perhaps unusual squash varieties (I just lurrrve squashes).

3. Something I can get, but at a relatively high price. (That would be shallots.)

4. Anything which tastes much, much better when fresh out of the garden. Just about everything fits into this category, but they do have to be edible – which rules out sprouts. Ergh.

So, from Real Seeds, I’ve got this little lot:

In the foreground, and in pride of place, Cosse Violette beans. I’ve grown these for several years, and saved my seed, but last year’s soggy autumn resulted in soggy saved beans that grew lots of green fur. Even the most optimistic seed saver would have chucked those out, and I did.

My favourite bean. The flowers are pretty, the purple pods are easy to find among the leaves once they develop their gorgeous colour and, best of all, they taste delicious. And they’re still productive in my howling gales, even if they do get a bit mangled around the edges:

Then there are courgettes (two different varieties, shared with friends), and a new squash. I’ve got a few of last year’s Boston Squash left – they tasted fab but the slugs thought so too – and this year I’m trying Anna Schwartz. They’re both hubbard squashes, which have a lovely flavour. They also mature relatively early (just as well). And they’re cute.

What more could you want?

I’ve also got another kale, Sutherland Kale this time. It’s described as ‘thriving in adverse conditions’. Since my conditions are either wonderful or windy, wild and verging on insane, sometimes on the same day, I guess ‘adverse’ probably fits the bill.

I decided to try turnips this year. Not quite sure why.

I’m still waiting for the seed potatoes and the shallot sets, but my garlic is in and has been safely planted for a few weeks now – just before the snow hit. I’ve just finished eating last year’s crop and am back on the best the Co-op can offer, which is bitter and harsh by comparison. Tried going out to the spot where I planted it and shouting ‘grow!’ but it’s not had any effect.

(Except on some passing walkers. Next time I feel like yelling at my vegetables I’ll check the road first.)

The mist has been coming down again, so I cheered myself up by looking through pictures of the garden last summer. Right now it seems impossible that it was warm and sunny, but it was.

And before the meadow reaches this stage it’s a tapestry of primroses, daffodils, cowslips and fritillaries. Not long to wait for that, really, and the daffs are already showing about three inches of growth, when I can see them through the mist…


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Loved the photographs, especially those purple beans.

  2. Ruth says:

    This is going to be the year of the squash for me….I am a convert. Squash tapas anyone?

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