Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Veggie Patch in Simple September

As I said last week the tin bath is empty, it's upturned and drying out ready to take with us to Wales.  However we have lots and lots of veggies, and even some fruit still growing in the Veggie Patch.
The Autumn Raspberries are in full fruit ...

.. there are even a few Blueberries left on the last bush.
The strawberries plants, now recovered from being eaten and then slept on by our local marauding deer, are sending off runners which I am capturing and pegging down in pots and troughs ready to take with us when we go.  We are leaving the plants in the main bed as we have sold the Veggie Patch lock , stock and barrel to our landlord and his family and it's always nice to have a few plants growing away when you take on the bare bones of something.
The Perpetual Spinach has fed both us and the Chickens all this year and through last Summer, so it's looking a bit tired now and maybe next week I will give the chickens what's left and then replant the bed.

The carrots have been good and have been added to many soups, stews and salads, I didn't plant many just this small bed but they have been consistent.
They were supposed to be a purple variety but it seems the orange is winning through and although there is a tinge of purple on the outside especially at the top.
The French Beans were doing quite badly this year until Lovely Hubby put a nice big strong sheet of mesh up, held in place by a single fence post.  The strength of this for them to climb up and the steady heat it absorbs and gives off seemed to do wonders for them and they romped away.  We are eating them constantly and there should be enough to stash a couple of bags into the freezer before we move.

This is the Beetroot end of the Three Sisters bed, this year I really have been experimenting with space and time saving methods of getting the most from every available bit of ground.  The Beetroot has done well and we have steadily picked and eaten it fresh as we've needed it.  I've not pickled any this year as we are still ploughing our way through the jars I did back in 2010 .... how much did I plant that year ...haha  :-)

This is the other Three Sisters bed.  I'll tell you all about this system of growing tomorrow.

We have just two cucumbers left growing at the moment, it's getting cool at nights now so I don't think anymore will start, these were to have been greenhouse cucumbers so I am really pleased that we have had the number that we have managed to get.
The main Courgette bed is very rampant, both us and the chickens have had soooooo many courgettes this year, it's a good job we like them.
This year I have grown mostly Yellow Courgettes, I have just one green courgette plant, I don't know why this is really, it must have been the number of seeds I had left from last year.

The Celery and Curley Kale bed.
This was only quite recently planted out, the Celery was started off in the greenhouse and when that was taken down it suffered badly even though we moved it to inside the house and it seemed to take an age to get going again.  I think it will be too bitter to eat raw, looking at how green the stems are, but will be good for cooking with and the chickens love the leaves.
Curly Kale is one of our favourite green leaves, it adds a rich depth of flavour to any dish you put it in and is so good for you.  We also use it in our juices.  Somehow I missed planting it when I put my initial seeds in and so risked starting a tray full late in the Spring, it did well and is now happily settled in the outdoor bed.

And this is the bed that will see us happily through the Winter ... Leeks.
So tasty in all manner of dishes and the good thing is that you can leave it in the ground throughout the coldest of Winter weather, as long as the ground is soft enough for you to get a spade in to pull it out, it will happily sit there waiting to be harvested as and when it is needed.
I see lots of lovely big pots of Leek and Potato Soup coming up in the months ahead, just what you need when you are decorating a whole house and setting up again a new home in the country.
Sue xx
Simple September - Top Tips #7
Grow what you need and what you eat!!
This may sound so obvious, but a lot of people dig over their garden or allotment and plant all the traditional crops.  In go Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Radishes, I know I've done it!!   
I didn't sit and think about it until I had planted 12lb of seed potatoes in our first year.  My Dad looked at me as all the plants were nicely filling the raised beds and said "You eat a lot of potatoes don't you" ... my answer ... "no actually we don't, we prefer rice or pasta".  The silence that followed as the grins spread across our faces was magical, but it brought it home to me I had planted potatoes because that's what veggie gardeners 'did'.
Now we plant a couple of potato plants each year, we plant fewer onions, because they can get so cheap in the shops it's not worth the space to grow them here and we grow lots of green leaves, Kale, lettuces, masses of spring onions, a bed of sweetcorn etc  the things that would cost us money week in week out through out the season.
Sit down and plan want you want to eat ... and then work out what you will grow.
Oh and by the way the potatoes I planted didn't go to waste, we ate a few, we gifted a few and we had some very happy pigs with tummies full of warm potatoes straight out of the Aga for breakfast throughout the coldest of the Winter.



  1. I did the same thing with Potatoes for the exact same reason lmao.
    Your Leeks are looking very good, mine are still pencil thin and looking pathetic.
    My mum used to grow Curly Kale when I was a kid, I grew it once myself but don't really know what to do with it (and it grew in abundance) so I never bothered again.
    Your tips are totally correct, next year I am finally growing only what we like to eat and in smaller portions - we get too many gluts.

    1. Haha... it's so easily done :-)

      Our favourite way with Kale is with pasta. Simply cook your pasta, while it cooks fry half a chopped onion and a finely chopped clove of garlic or two. When your pasta is ready throw the chopped kale into the pan and then drain almost immediately, reserving a cupful of the cooking water. Add some cream or yogurt to your onion pan, stir around and then pour in the pasta and Kale. If it looks dry add some of the reserved pasta water to let it down slightly. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan or any hard grated cheese and a slice of homemade garlic bread ..... now I'm hungry it's a good job it's tea time :-)

  2. Look at all those leeks! *drools* leek and parsnip soup is my absolute fave and perfect for winter!
    My veg patch is feeling rather neglected this year, halfway thriugh the season i started a new job job with a lot more hours and so have little time remaining between that, 2 kids and a house to run !
    Though I am really looking forward to harvesting and storing the butternut squash! My mini bush plants have turned into 12 foot monsters! Just as well they are FH's fave lol xx

    1. It's amazing how a half neglected veggie patch when left to it's own devices can produce some wonderful things to eat, check for anything edible. I once found lots of little tomatoes that had literally been abandoned all through the summer, they were trailing along the ground under a covering of weeds (yes I felt guilty), they were small and underdeveloped but tasted divine.

  3. It's all looking wonderful Sue. I really like the bean support and will do something similar here next year. It must make them a lot easier to pick too.

    1. It was so simple, just a fence post with a piece of sturdy wire mesh pinned to it and the beans romped away immediately. I'll be doing that again, forget about 'photogenic wigwams' this suits me and, it would seem the beans, so much better!

  4. I know you said you are moving soon but coming backs and forwards whilst doing so and get the new place up and running. Will you use all this winter crops or do you think, some will be handed over to the land lord? Our leeks are still way behind normal size but we hope they will get a little bigger before we have to use them.

    1. No our landlord is not due to move back for another couple of years, he's hoping to let the bungalow out again for a while I think. But he has bought a lot of our bits and pieces as he wants to copy our lifestyle slightly when they get back.

      (Manshed, Henhouse, Veggie Patch, Tractor and components etc)

  5. The vegetables look lovely, I often wish I had a garden, but know that (like so many things I do) I start off full of enthusiasm, then other things - like work - get in the way! If we stay in Hampshire area next year I will be able to help out in Mum's garden, especially as she is far less able to do so much now. My well-travelled herbs are still doing well though, and I have a huge pot of the rosemary that I dried from the cut-back bush at the campsite earlier in the year.
    I bet you are getting really excited about the move - although I though that LH was staying in your present house for the next couple of years?

    1. We have had to change plans as our landlord decided not to let LH rent this bungalow at the reduced rent he originally offered, we don't want to be paying out even a third share of the full rent for this place, when that money would be better going to pay off the mortgage quicker.

      Instead LH will be sharing midweek digs with some of his colleagues. This will obviously mean less responsibility too and thus less hassle. It's worked out okay in the end.

  6. Now I can honesty
    Say that
    I have just had a good look at
    She's BOSOMS

    EXPLAIN That to non Going Gently readers

    1. For all you non 'Going Gently' readers out there, before you feel the need rush to my defence and to the defence of my naturally and simply named Veggie Patch, read this post -


      - it's John's Blog post from earlier this year when he reminded us of why his allotment is called 'Bosoms'.

      Of course we all know it's called 'Bosoms' because he likes to have startling and risqué post titles that boost his viewing numbers and add to his ever growing Follower collection :-)

      Bosoms in the Wet
      Bosoms Revamped
      Olympic Bosoms
      and to cap it all - 'Get your sharp little teeth off my Bosoms' and 'Licking Bosoms into Shape'

      .... the lengths some people will stoop to!!

  7. I have not written about my new raised beds just to the west of bosoms

    They are called

    " titties"


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