A Year in the Vegetable Garden

Although the vegetable garden is, for the most part, looking quite empty at the moment, I have recently made a start on the planting for next year by sowing my garlic.

Garlic was actually the first crop that I planted after the raised beds were completed in December 2011, which means I’ve come full circle and am now about to mark my first anniversary as a novice grower.

Whilst there have been successes, and I’ve obviously delighted in each and every one, I’ve had my share of failures too. Some were undoubtedly due to the wet weather conditions, the general consensus being that its been a tricky year for gardeners, however many have been more to do with pests (I’m looking at you rabbits) and (*ahem*) inexperience.

So, what have I learned and what would I do again, differently, or not at all?

Well, above all I’ve learned that ornamental garden aesthetics only get you so far. My reluctance to net crops led to a couple of disasters courtesy of the rabbits/other pests which I was gutted about, particularly since the plants in question had been lovingly raised from seed. Similarly, fancy planting plans didn’t quite look as good as I’d envisaged and also left awkward shaped gaps when the crops were harvested. It’ll be good old fashioned nets and rows for me from now on then.

In terms of successes, the following worked well, or even brilliantly, and have definitely earned a spot in next year’s beds:

  • Garlic
  • Runner beans
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Courgettes
  • Broad Beans

The crops below fared less well however and I’m going to have to give some thought as to what I need to do differently; I would be sad not to have them growing somewhere though as they’re allotment stalwarts:

  • Leeks
  • Spring onions
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

I’m not entirely sure why these were disappointing to be honest. It may be a case of paying more attention to the soil and aspect, feeding them more often, or perhaps choosing a variety more suited to our garden. I’m going to be doing my homework on them over the coming months.

Problems aside, the vegetable plot is a wonderful addition to the garden. It has an almost monastic sense of order and calm to it, which makes it a pleasure to spend time in. Whilst the learning curve may have been steep at times, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself and very much look forward to what next year may bring.

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