Husband and I have been making the most of the recent good weather by spending as much time as we could in our garden, which this year has been a bit neglected as a result of my work schedule and the dismal weather that we have had here in the north west of England. We did have some good weather but it invariably seemed to be on the days that I was working. So once gain I have to apologise for absenting myself from Blogland. Husband has now had his two cataract ops. and it has been ideal recuperation to be able to potter around in the garden in warm sunny weather, even if he has had to wear sun glasses.
This year for the first time we have had a taste of the good life. For those of you who do not live in the UK or who are too young to remember, The Good Life was a TV sitcom about a young couple, Tom and Barbara Good played by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendall, who dropped out of the rat race and tried to become self sufficient by growing fruit and vegetables and keeping a pig. We do not have a pig but we have grown vegetables for the first time this year.
Summer 2010 and this is what our vegetable garden looked like.
The shed was purchased on 2005 to temporarily house the contents of our largely asbestos garage while it was rebuilt. It ended up full of all sorts and it was a mammoth task to empty it so that we could sell it which we managed to do about a year ago.
Summer 2011 the vegetable garden looked like this.
The vegetable garden is husband's 'baby' and I have left it pretty much up to him to organise it and grow what he wants. He bought the raised beds in kit form. He also bought the soil to fill the raised beds and has installed an irrigation system. The plants came from a garden centre. I am not sure if we shall ever get our money back or break even on this project. Next year maybe we shall try to grow the plants from seed.
The first vegetable that we were able to harvest was the spinach and we have continued to pick it on a regular basis for several weeks now. However, the leaves are now noticeably smaller. Next were the lettuces, cauliflowers and broccoli. Unfortunately some went to seed, as we did not watch them carefully enough. This year it has all been a bit of an experiment and next year we shall know better. The mange tout exceeded our wildest expectations with a bumper crop. We had thought that our Cheshire climate would not be warm enough for them. The peas also did well and were far better than any frozen peas.
Lastly there is the fruit crop. The fruit cage contains raspberries and blackberries. Only the late raspberries have done well this year. Hopefully next year we shall do better with the fruit as we are both partial to raspberries. Finally there are two ancient cooking apple trees in our garden. We have already had some wind falls but will not harvest the main crop for a few weeks yet.
It has been a very worth while experiment. It has given husband more interest in the garden than he has had as he tends to leave most of it to me. Picking fresh vegetables from the garden and eating them within hours, rather than days for supermarket bought vegetables, has been an absolute pleasure.