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The luck of the crop rotation draw and bad design in my veg patch means that particular veg families tend to have what might be described as ‘off years’ depending on the area they are destined to spend their growing season in. There’s a particular part of my veg patch that is hampered by being simultaneously the closest to the garden perimeter and the lowest point in the garden.
I am all for taking a decent break from the veg patch in the winter months, and I do very little between late November and February. There are lots of things I could be doing if I was that way inclined, and I know of GIYers that visit the veg patch daily in those times – continuing to sow, grow and harvest despite the short days and inclement weather. I am not one of those growers.
Though we haven’t quite reached ‘hungry gap’ territory yet, I think it’s fair to say at this stage that we are beginning to pass the point of plenty as far as last year’s harvest is concerned. We still have plenty to eat in the veg patch and in stores, but things are a little scarce and some vegetables are starting to run out altogether.
I’ve tried hard to resist the charms of kale over the years, but finally, perhaps inevitably, I have succumbed. I’ve become somewhat of a kale nut. Kale suffers somewhat from a reputation problem.
I can’t confess to know a lot about beekeeping. Actually, correct that, I know absolutely nothing about beekeeping. So, one might be surprised to find a beehive in my garden. But there it is nonetheless, nestling happily in a secluded patch between my polytunnel and the hedgerow.
If, like me, you like your apples, you will almost certainly have noticed how badly served we are by the commercial food chain when it comes to this wonderful fruit. Though there are literally thousands of apple varieties available around the world, just a handful make up the vast majority of apples sold by supermarkets.
Soil. Well, it’s just dirt really, isn’t it? It’s something to be cleaned off our boots and scrubbed off our hands, right? When I started growing my own food, I didn’t have much respect for the soil that the veg was growing in. My focus was on the seed, the plants, the vegetables. The soil was actually a source of annoyance to me - it had to be dug, raked, hoed, rotavated, coaxed and cajoled.
For me, August is the ultimate payback month, when all the hard work of the year really starts to pay off. Somehow, it never seems as busy as other months. August and September sees us poised between the hard work of the current growing year and the hard work of preparing for the next one
I am growing scorzonera for the first time this year and enjoying the sight of it in the summer veg patch while waiting patiently to try it later in the autumn. This oddly named vegetable is relatively unknown in Ireland, but it is one that is well worth growing.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were basking in 20 degrees heat and headed for the beach over the Easter holidays. This year it’s a case of wrapping up well and trying to endure persistent freezing temperatures. It does all seem rather unnatural, particularly since it feels like it should be spring now that we’ve planted the potatoes.