A good place to start for a food blog I reckon is the growing of food and it’s just that time of year when my green fingers are itching to get going in the vegetable garden.
That said, my lovely polytunnel (just as good as a man shed) is invaluable in the colder months for getting my garlic bulbs started nice and early and keeping us in fresh herbs through most of the winter. It’s also a place I can happily potter, even on a miserable day – I stay (mostly) warm and dry, nurturing my cuttings and tender plants and I sometimes even have a tidy up (I’m a very messy gardener according to Martin).
I’ve learned what I can grow well in this garden and what we get the best value from, ie, least work, best yields and, most important of all, something we love to eat. I still try a couple of new things every year but gone are the days of growing anything and everything – I like to get maximum bangs for my buck these days.
On this year’s planting list are the usual suspects: garlic, tomatoes, herbs, leeks, courgettes, French Beans etc. plus the more exotic aubergines, Borlotti, capsicums etc.. [Note to self: DON’T grow any more chillies this year, still have 2 large jars of dried chillies from last year!]
A common refrain from gardeners is that we always grow too much of something and are overwhelmed with produce. But I have Ruth’s Real Food to supply as well as family needs so I can get really carried away if I like – last year’s leek seedlings numbered over 250!
Then, there’s the ever reliable soft fruit: strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. Loads of fruit to eat fresh, freeze for winter use and make jam with. My currant(!) favourites are the blackcurrants which should figure more in borders I reckon. They produce great fruit for years, the bees love them, they are are early to leaf and flower and, up close, they release a beautiful scent when you touch them (even now when they’re only just starting to bud, I get the scent as I weed around them).
The sun’s just come out at last, so I think might just pop outside now and see how my early stuff is looking, enjoy the daffodils in the field and look for signs of those first buds.