It may not be growing season just yet, but it is certainly time to begin planning anything new in the borders that will work around existing plants. This year I have decided to mix vegetables in with my flowers, as it’s no secret that nothing tastes better than home-grown greens that have been pulled straight from your own soil, and of course I have developed a habit of pickling/preserving anything edible that isn’t nailed down. Not small children though; I definitely couldn’t eat a whole one.
So, plans are afoot for my growing strategy and choice of vegetables. The beautiful green fractal pictured is a Romanesco Cauliflower – half cauliflower and half broccolli. I’ve never been lucky enough to find whole ones in the supermarket and they look so gorgeous in salads and pickles and relishes. I now have seeds to grow these, along with seeds for red cabbage.
It has long been my desire to make Redcurrant Jelly, as it is so versatile. There is also an Onion Jam recipe I’d like to try, which calls for Redcurrant Jelly. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than giving jars of onion and redcurrant goodness to family and being able to say that every single ingredient in the jar came from my hard work. It’s cheaper to buy onions than it is to grow them (in fact, England seems to produce/import more onions than anybody knows what to do with) but redcurrants? I now have four redcurrant bushes travelling to me courtesy of Amazon. I don’t know how many redcurrants make a kilo, so I’d rather find myself with too many rather than not enough!
I also have a couple of packs of Nasturtium seeds on the way to me. Every part of the Nasturtium is edible, as well as very pretty. You can eat the flowers in salads, or infuse the petals to make tea, and the pods can be pickled to become “capers”. Of course “real” capers can’t be grown in England because the weather isn’t right, but Nasturtium “capers” are just as tasty.
The Tribble shall continue to grow our usual crops of tomatoes, green beans, mange tout, cucumbers, courgettes, spring onions, beetroot, garlic and radishes – not to mention his Bay Tree. We both have Rosemary growing in our own seperate patches (a grateful bird pooped a seed out in my rose border!) and we have thyme, fennel, chives, black peppermint and sage. Dom also grows chilis and long sweet peppers (Romano – we’ve not attempted bell peppers yet).
I also have lots and lots of preserving jars at the ready – again from Amazon. I don’t see my Mum very often, so I needed to have a full arsenal of jars in which to put her Piccalilli!
I do feel a lot more mobile and energetic this year, so let’s hope that I can keep up with the needs of everything growing in my borders and in our greenhouse! It still causes pain to bend, crouch or kneel, but the only way to strengthen the neccessary muscles is to work them. You can’t say that gardening won’t help in that regard!