Catching Up…

After a rather neglectful few months I did a little tour of the garden yesterday.  Due to all the illness followed by festivities it’s quite genuinely the first time I’ve been in the vegetable patch for a good few weeks, despite the fact I look out on it from our ‘glass wall’ extension most days from the studio where I sew (the view of which is as below).

I was very disappointed to see that the kale, the only plant I had bothered to grow for winter consumption has been completely eaten, the nets are still in place so this year it isn’t the wood pigeons and I’m wondering if it’s the mice? more likely a stray rabbit that’s sneaked under our fence I think.  On a happier note I still have a full bed of garlic which is looking good and the large container that I started my kale in has a few plants still growing, I’ve decided to leave them be as I’m worried if I try moving them into a main bed they’ll go the same way as the rest, even though they ideally need much more room.  It does look very sad and neglected though, empty pots have been blown about in recent gales and there are lots of kids toys still outside which should have been packed away for winter.  It’s not really a very pretty photo but I want to take one each month so I can see the progression through the year and the reality is this is how it looks this January.

This year, not only did I give some homemade jams and jellies for Christmas but I received a great hamper from my Mum full of her homemade goodies; pickled onions, chutney, oven dried tomatoes and jam to name a few.  It’s pretty clear where I get my enthusiasm for this kind of thing from, she used to be in the WI you know ;).  I also received a couple of new books, the River Cottage Veg Everyday is great and it’s giving me lots of ideas for things to grow and cook; I’m not convinced yet on the bread book, I know from my avid viewing of The Great British Bake Off that Paul is the King of bread but the recipes I have tried out so far haven’t jumped into my top ten (and I do have a top 10 bread recipes, but that’s probably one for a separate post).

On a slightly different note than the usual food/garden topic I have a new ebay collecting obsession, I’ve bought a few pieces of vintage  Royal Doulton ‘The Coppice’ crockery.  Not many as my husband HATES my collecting things in already full house, and he does have a point, but I have always been in love with this pattern and I couldn’t resist.  I write this as the postman has just delivered some spoons (more retro than vintage but cheap and something we actually need and nicer than any new ones I could buy) and on the package it said ‘6 used spoons’ which the postie thought was hilarious.  Cheeky git.

It’s really time to sit down and decide what I’ll be growing this year, although we appear to be having a late winter, with frost all over the ground in recent mornings I am keen to get my early vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers etc) started and work out what I have room for in the raised beds.  I have a nice pile of seed catalogues and hope to feel inspired to try some new things to keep my interest up, although we had a good crop of vegetables last year and I managed a good balance of time input verses produce results I want to get my full enthusiasm back and have a bursting garden.  The only way is onwards and upwards 🙂