Roughly every 6 weeks we get a visit at work from The Book People. I love books, especially if they are bargains, which these books always are, and I invariably end up buying one, if not two books. Just before Christmas I was tempted (and bought) The Readers Digest Food from Your Garden and Allotment. A £19.99 book for £4.99, well you can’t ignore that can you?
It is full of comprehensive information from growing to cooking, with some wonderful illustrations. Starting with a basic guide to the kitchen garden and a chapter on re-planning your garden, it includes a growing calendar, growing and cooking and home preserving. The fruit and vegetables it covers a range from the unusual such as Salsify to the common potato and it is full of inspiration.
The replanning your garden section is one that I am going to read in-depth and make notes on. 2013 is going to the year that I take a good look at the shape and design of the garden, so watch this space. I need to take a look to find a way of incorporating more space to grow vegetables.
Imagine my delight with one of the most exciting Christmas presents I received. My eldest daughter gave me an annual subscription to Allotinabox. This consisted of two seasonal Grow Your Own boxes and with another two to follow as the year progresses.
Each box consists of five packets of seeds, labels, twine, and a useful growing wheel. So I now have a number of herb seeds, aubergine, spring onions, carrots and leeks. My only concern was that there is nothing on the packets to say what variety they are. However, the Allotinabox website is comprehensive and it gives the variety on their seed help page. I now know that the carrots are Early Nantes and the leeks are Musselburgh. It would have been useful if this information was written on the packets, especially if you didn’t have access to a computer.
I am now in the position with a lot of seeds and a small space to grow them. All the more reason now to find extra space in the garden to grow my Allotinabox seeds. For the newbie vegetable gardener, the Allotinabox website has a number of well informed sheets to print out, including one called Pot Help. Starting off in pots is a great idea; a few years ago I started my vegetable growing in pots until I put in a raised bed. An allotment might be the best idea but I don’t have the time and my own garden would probably suffer, so I may well combine pots and perhaps one more raised bed this year.
My job this afternoon is to get outside and start to give the larger of the terracotta pots a good clean, so that I can start off the herbs when the time is right. I will also be looking at how to incorporate a second raised bed, or if that is practical.
So armed with my lovely book and my seed packets, with a bit of luck I will be eating more home-grown vegetables this year, and giving them away. That is, of course, if I can find space to grow everything, maybe I’ll develop an old-fashioned Elizabethan country garden and grow vegetables in amongst the flowers. It’ll certainly give me plenty to write about, and photograph.