Caption: Broad Beans, Runner Beans, Beetroot, Bell Courgette and Sweet Peas
Caption: The Veg Patch
Caption: Broccoli and Cauliflower
Caption: Planning For Next Year

I step out the back door and stomp through the garden gate into the quiet frostiness of my veg patch. It is just after half past 6 on a cold night in 2013 and we have friends over for dinner. Wearing wellies and a head torch and carrying a basket and trowel, I make my way over to the parsnips and the carrots to pull some out the ground for dinner. I fill my basket with 4 enormous parsnips and 6 weird looking carrots. I make my way back across the garden and into the house where I proudly show off the soil covered vegetables to our friends and promptly set about preparing them for our meal.

And the big question - what makes them taste all the sweeter? Is it the pride and joy of growing them myself? Or is it knowing that they have virtually no carbon footprint and have been grown completely organically?

We started off quite small, wanting to have a go at growing our favourites and the easier things to grow: potatoes, strawberries, onions, carrots, parsnips, garlic, leeks, radishes, blackcurrants and gooseberries. However, this has now evolved to growing more of our favourites but also the more expensive vegetables, ensuring variety and continuous supply of fresh fruit and veg throughout the year (for instance, in order to have strawberries for as long as possible we grow an early variety, a main crop and a later variety to ensure maximum strawberry eating for as long as possible). There is nothing quite like the thrill and pride at watching your own vegetables grow and then enjoying the fruits (and veg) of all your hard work.

Gardening, for us, has become an activity we can do together as a couple and learn about together. We have learnt from our mistakes, and continue to make new mistakes every season. We have learnt more about preserving food when we have gluts, and about planning our meals based on what comes out of the garden. We have learnt so many different ways to eat courgettes and broad beans you wouldn’t believe! Eating broad beans every day for 3 weeks can get awfully boring, but we now look forward to the seasonality of our vegetables and associate certain times of year with what will be coming out of the garden. We have not only become more aware of the seasons through the year, but more connected to the natural environment and the weather as we plan different jobs and tasks to be completed – because who does like weeding in the rain?!

I hope I’ve been able to inspire you to pledge that you will have a go at growing vegetables next year. You’ve got 4 months from now until the growing season begins to do your research and get started (seeds need ordering in January)…It really is so easy to experience a little bit of “The Good Life”.

Laura – Dalefoot Farm

1 comment

  • Jane Smith

    11 November 2018, 10.44pm

    You are both an inspiration. I so want another veggie patch and to be reasonably self sufficient.

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Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

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