Chilli Flower

In The Garden

One of the things I’ve loved so much this year has been watching our garden develop. Just a couple of years we started a project which involved knocking down our garage to create more space, and since then every nook and cranny has become home to edible plants of one kind or another.

The first half of the year had so much rain I doubted anything would grow. Slugs munched away happily at both the hamburg parsley (a root vegetable like a parsnip) and the beans that I had held out so much hope for, but for some reason left alone the peas. The chilli plants received a good munching from aphid infestations while in the conservatory, but seem to have cleared up well when relocated to the patio. On the same note, the dwarf apple tree we planted earlier this year grew really well but is now also infested by aphids, with ants seen constantly running up and down the trunk.

Our decision to plant fruit seems to have paid dividends; the black, red and white currants planted last year have given us an abundance of fruit (which grows on last years branches), as have the raspberry canes. The latter is the gift which keeps on giving, as we’ve now had a solid 2 months of raspberries with more still to pick. Our home grown blueberries are also delicious (if not entirely plentiful), as are the strawberries which grow in hanging baskets on the walls around the sides of the house.

I still haven’t mentioned the vegetable plot, a small raised bed stuffed with carrots and celeriac and lined with tomato plants on one side and gooseberry bushes (in their first year, so no fruit yet) on the other. In fact this plot is so full I’m considering applying for an allotment for next year.

We have a small garden, but we’ve managed to squeeze all of this in to it without the need to destroy too much of our lawn that Mia loves to play on (in fact, she seems to enjoy stealing raspberries straight from the bush more than the extra space). Between this and foraging for the odd bit of free food (plums and blackberries free for the takers right now) I feel we’ve managed to lessen our dependency on the supermarkets – which seem to be on an endless path of destruction throughout the retail industry – by a fairly sizable amount.

There’s really no excuse not to do the same. If you live in an apartment you can grow herbs on a window ledge; if you have a tiny border at the front of your house you could fill it with quick growing salad vegetables. Whatever space you have available, growing something that you can pick and eat is immensely rewarding and fun.

What do you grow in your garden?