Moving to the countryside: Part 24: The veg patch enjoys the sun

May and June warmth bring excitement to the veg bed, at last

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Forgive the long pause between posts – it’s been a busy time in the veg patch. As the cold weather persisted into April, we had hold off sowing anything in the ground, and the greenhouse became backed up with seedtrays, pots and containers of all sorts thronging with seedlings all waiting for their own D-Day and be launched into the veg beds.

Finally, some warmth came and, bearing in mind last year’s appalling late spring and summer, this late April, May and June have been positively benign, if a little chilly.

Our criteria for planting anything is that is must be something we like. I often talk to gardeners who plant acres of runner beans and then say they give them all away. What’s the point? Even better if the veg is expensive in the shops – though I’ve noticed that all veg is more expensive than a year ago – could that be to do with our awful weather?

So, we’ve got lots of peas and broad beans, new potatoes, Swiss chard and beetroot. Other useful staples include perpetual spinach, a few runner beans, a few cabbages and other beany type things that climb (borlotti and French beans).

Beyond those core, easy to grow regulars, we’re experimenting with garlic (planted last year), salsify (a white root that is supposed to taste of oysters and requires a special stone free bed – see below), leeks and kohl rabi (a crunchy globe relative of the cabbage that tastes of celery).

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While waiting for these to provide us with tasty meals, we’ve lived on the purple sprouting broccoli that we threw in last June when we first moved in. And nettles foraged from the garden, which I made only partially successfully into gnocchi. Still, you’ve got to try…

It’s a year since we’ve moved here – and despite greater challenges than we imagined, we’ve definitely made progress and a few friends along the way. And we’re staying put.

Next big challenge is chickens…

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