Thursday 25 July 2013

Our veggie garden

We had a huge downpour last night, the first proper rain in weeks and weeks which included quite a long heatwave. And while we don't tend to get heat or humidity on, say, the North American or Australian level, mid to high eighties for us in the UK is something we're not used to and some of us don't enjoy - me included! So it was lovely when it broke last night with quite a deluge and everything looks so different the morning after. I couldn't resist taking a few pics of our veggies looking very grateful for their good long drink.

Our veggie garden is not huge, we don't need it for just the two of us, but one of the main reasons we're happy with it this year is that we didn't really get one last year. It was washed away by constant torrential rain and anything that was left was devoured by the plague of slugs and snails that the whole country suffered from in 2012. We got tomatoes from the greenhouse and a few peas and that was about it. This year we have courgettes, runner and French beans, cabbages, sprouts, cauliflower which is now over  and in the freezer, beetroot, shallots, swede, parsnip, leeks, carrots and more. Very pleased indeed.

If you click on the following pics they'll come up bigger of course.

I love these blowsey, yellow flowers that the courgettes (elsewhere called zuccini I think) produce, this one has a bee in it. I only picked these yesterday and it looks like I need to do it again today.

Brussel sprouts! Good healthy plants but we're having the devil of a time keeping the cabbage white butterflies off. We have them netted but they still get in.

The flowering herb, marjoram. Fabulous for attracting the bees. It's usually covered but am guessing the bees were waiting for it to dry off a bit, looking out now they're there.

Runner beans... not right against the wall as they seem to be... notice dark clouds... haven't seen any of those in quite a while.

Honestly, I don't think a small garden like this is the best situation in which to grow corn-on-the-cob. But every year we give it a go. Last year we got nothing, usually they produce 3 or 4 cobs a plant, enough for some wonderful lunches and we freeze the remainder. We'll see what happens this year.

Inside the greenhouse. It looks like a forest of tomatoes when you get closer.

The promise of fried tomatoes. I can already smell the bacon...

Peppers. Still small, also not ideal for our climate, in my opinion but we like to give these things ago and whatever the two plants produce will go nicely in stews in the winter... even though I don't really like them. LOL.

My husband likes to utilise every available space so here we have a courgette plant growing inside one of the runner bean wigwams.

Down the garden path...

... and over the hills and far away.

I will confess here that my husband is the gardener, not me. I enjoy pottering and I tend to be the main harvester of whatever the garden produces... but he grows it all, not me. I am however grateful for a husband who loves to grow things to eat and always has. In just over a week we'll have been married 40 years and I can honestly say there has never been a year when he hasn't grown vegetables, *even* the year 2001 when he had a triple heart-bypass in August. I think I must've helped a bit more that year though. LOL! And that wasn't this garden either it was a much bigger one elsewhere. I've said before that I think that we live a sort of 1950s lifestyle where our lives are not centred much outside the home, but more concentrated on family, home, garden, books. We're a touch anti-social and we know it, but that's ok I hope. 40 years must mean it works for us!


DesLily said...

Wow Cath!! That looks like a pretty big garden to me! I tried Brussel Sprouts one year eons ago but was unsuccessful something got into them. I would say if everything I see there produces that you will be quite busy cooking and freezing!
love love love the photos! glad you posted them!

GeraniumCat said...

Looks lovely, Cath, and very productive. I've only got courgettes and tomatoes this year - they are doing okay though. Next year, I keep promising myself, I will be organised.

Jeane said...

Your garden is gorgeous and I loved seeing the pictures. I've tried growing corn before and never had any luck. Same with brussel sprouts. The leeks look lovely- I thought they were garlic at first! I miss my old garden...

Peggy Ann said...

Wonderful garden! So much in so small a space. Zucchini are so "fruitful" you'll need the pin I pinned under soups, salads and sides - zucchini recipes!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

Congratulations for early August, 40 years of marriage is something of a rare achievement these days. We are up to 34 years now and my brother and sister-in-law celebrate their 30th next week.

Like yourselves we are not really what you would call 'social animals', although we do enjoy going out walking, or to the local theatres. Neither of us really drink much, which seems to set us apart from many of our peers and we do seem to spend most of our time with family members, although we don't have any children of our own.

We do have quite a large garden, although much of it is tubbed planting and, I am ashamed to say, not a vegetable in sight, although we both love just about every veggie., including sprouts and cabbage!

Your garden looks to be on quite a slope and the boxed effect looks great in that situation. Your plants look good and healthy too. Having just got in from shopping, they look amazing compared to the pathetic array of fruit and vegetables I have just been confronted with. It almost makes me want to turn over some of our raised beds to veggies ... one day!!

Nice pictures, although we have only had a little drizzle here so far, so everything is stilltinder dry.


Cath said...

Pat: We have a big garden by British standards, and this bit is only a very small part of the garden as a whole, but it's where we grow our main veg crops. Yep pretty busy cooking and freezing and the tomatoes are not even in yet. We're going to make piccalilli this week. LOL

Geranium Cat: Glad your toms and courgettes are doing OK. I'm not even a huge courgette fan but find having a year like last year when we didn't get any at all, very depressing. I like having bags of them in the freezer to just chuck into soups and stews.

Jeane: Corn is tempermental I think. I saw something recently where they say you need to plant them where the wind can blow through them as that's the way they're fertilised. Looking at where we put them this year I'm not sure we're going to get any then. Ooops.

Peggy Ann: Yes they are prolific. I need to pick them today as they get big in the blink of an eye. I'll check out your Pinterest page for recipes. I quite like them as a side dish, sliced and layered with tomatoes and garlic and topped with breadcrumbs and cheese.

Yvonne: Thanks, Yvonne. You're doing well too.

We're not drinkers either, P enjoys the odd glass of wine but it disagrees with me so I'm almost teetotal. You're right, it does set you apart. Our outings are like yours, walking or visiting stately homes, I go to the theatre with family, cinema occasionally with P, but really I'm very much a 'stay-at-home' bird. Thoroughly dislike going out in the evening to be honest, especially wintertime.

Yes, our garden is very much on a slope... a hill really! I've put in an order for a flat garden when we move again but Devon being such a hilly county I'm not holding out much hope.

We've managed to find a nice farmshop where we buy veggies when there's not much in the garden, supermarket veggies are really rather sad looking.

Enjoy your weekend.

Susan said...

OH my, that is a lovely veggie garden, flourishing so wondefully!!! On Peter must be so proud of it. What glorious yummy food you are going to get out of it this year. And it's by no means small!!!

40 years of marriage is fabulous, congratulations, Cath. I hope you have many more years together. As you said to me in a post a while ago, you have your life set up the way that makes you contented and happy, and fulfilled, and that's the best way to live. Wonderful to hear you are so happy in your life, too.

LOVE the pics!!! :-)

Cath said...

Susan: Yes, Peter is proud of the veggie garden this year. Despite the cold spring things have flourished, which was not the case last year due to too much rain and a plague of slugs and snails.

Thank you so much for your congrats. Our anniversary is actually tomorrow and we're having a quiet family day. I too think it's the best way to live, we are fortunate in many ways.

Glad you enjoyed the pics.