With the kettle boiled and the tea made I sat down at the kitchen table. Time to draw up my plan for the veg garden. I had my pencil and paper at the ready,a few reference books, John Seymours “New Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency” and “The Vegetable and Herb Expert” by Dr. D.G. Hessayon and a rough idea of what we wanted to grow.
First up ‘spuds’, I’m Irish and no Irish veg plot would be complete without the humble potato. They can be tricky enough to grow if you are not spraying them for blight. Of course we will grow all the major salad crops as well, varieties of lettuce, rocket, spring onions, radishes and chards. Beetroot is a must, my wife being Polish couldn’t survive without her Barszcz! (beetroot soup). We intend to try most of the Brassicas – different types of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and my Christmas favourite brussels sprouts. There will be a bed of onions, garlic and shallots in which I will also grow my carrots to keep the ‘carrot fly’ at bay.
We will have a permanent bed of asparagus, planted this year but I will not be able to harvest until next year as wisdom would say it is best left for the first year to establish itself. So I will have a long wait for my asparagus egg and soldiers!
I am in two minds as to whether or not I should grow peas. We eat a lot of peas and I would probably need to dedicate a lot of space to growing them if I wanted to be self-sufficient in peas. I will however grow mange-tout and runner beans, these at a different dimension to a veg garden with the height they give and their continuous crops.
For the kids there will have to be sunflowers, sweetcorn (not sure this grow to well where we live but we’ll find out), pumpkins and cucumbers so in this patch we will throw in the courgette, squashes and aubergines.
On the fruit side I will try raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, plums and I will leave space for a greengage tree and maybe even a medlar tree. We have no need for blackberries as every ditch in Ireland has an ample supply.
Once this is complete I will try to source some free top soil and ask one of the local equestrian centres for some of their finest horse poo. Mix both together and we should have the perfect environment for our fruit and veggies to thrive in.
So the list of prospective fruit and veg is made and our veg garden mapped out. All I need to do now is get outside and get started. Time to get the hands dirty.