I’ve never had a garden of my own, not even a window box, and suddenly this year I find myself the proud owner of a whole allotment, so this year has been a real learning curve for me!
For some strange reason I thought once Autumn/Winter arrived I’d have time to sit back and take a well earned breather, I mean, plants don’t grow in the winter, do they?
How wrong could I be? It never occurred to me I could be growing vegetables in winter, I’d never heard of winter vegetable gardening! As far as I was concerned plants became dormant in winter, and that was the time I spent pouring over the numerous seed catalogs I had ordered. DOHH!
My winter vegetable crops; Kale, Cabbages, Carrots, Leeks, and Brussels sprouts are going strong, and are producing more than enough for our needs for the winter.
In the shed my mushrooms are growing full pelt, I have to dry more than half in order to save waste!
In the greenhouse I have honey dew melons, aubergines, prickly pears, peanuts and dragon fruit (I know, but I couldn’t resist the name, even though I’ve never tasted one in my life!). I have to make a confession here, any of the greenhouse plants I could be growing indoors (along with tons of others), on windowsills, but I love the look of my full greenhouse!
But it doesn’t stop there; there are plants I want to be planting now for cropping in the spring, like garlic, onions, cabbages. Then there are the plants which are beneficial to wildlife which I won’t be harvesting, like sweet peas and wallflowers, they attract the first pollinators of the year to a garden, (and because I’m a woman, make the allotment look pretty too!).
I have been totally stunned by how easy it has been to grow our own food. You listen to the gardeners on telly saying you have to plant at such and such time, the plants have to go in such and such place, and it all seems a bit like rocket science, but it really isn’t like that at all!
You put a plant in the ground, and nature does the rest. The plant wants to grow; it wants to produce the fruit we wait so eagerly for! Even if the conditions are not ideal for it, you will get something.
People have the misconception a winter vegetable garden will look ugly, but that is really not the case, even cabbages will bring a spot of green to an otherwise dormant city winter garden, and in the grey days of winter, a touch of green is always welcome. To walk past a garden and see the delicate fronds of carrots growing among the dormant flowers is really quite beautiful to see.
Yes it is a little more work than I had expected, but the benefits so out weigh effort, it is well and truly worth it.
Image source: Wikimedia