Thoughts and photos from a first summer of veg growing

by sophie on September 12, 2009 · 17 comments

Post image for Thoughts and photos from a first summer of veg growing

Inspired by Elaine, Wendy, Kalyn and a whole host of other inspirational gardeners this has been my first summer of growing my own vegetables.  I always enjoy looking at other folks “grow your own” pics so thought I’d share a few of my own.

This summer has been a steep learning curve, with most lessons learnt the hard way. People say pictures speak a thousand words; these are just a few of the lessons I’ve learnt.

This is waaay to many radish for two people.  Nobody likes radish this much, even if it’s very exciting that they’re ready to eat before anything else.

radishseedlingsConversely, three sugar snaps looks like a lot of plant but is nowhere near enough to feed two people who really like them.

sugar snap plantsAnd everybody knows that two people don’t need more than one or two courgette (zucchini) plants. It’s not such a disaster then if you accidentally kill some of those extraneous seedlings by letting them get blown over and snap.

courgette plant (yellow taxi)It’s your garden and place to sit out of an evening so grow a few pretty things too

rainbow chard growingBut don’t sit and look at your beautiful handiwork for too long before eating. Somebody or something else will surely beat you to it.

For lovers of the green leafy stuff, learning how to grow your own salad leaves is (as Shauna pointed out) like green gold

homegrown saladAs a novice gardener, however often you read the phrase successional sowing it will remain a mere a concept in your head until the day your precious lettuce and spinach bolts to over a foot high and you have no salad left to eat.

vegpatch full bloomIt’s amazing what you can grow from seed these days…
bertintheveggies.jpgLast but not least, a timely link. If, like me, you reached the end of August before realising that all of those big sturdy Winter favourites (brussels, cabbages, parsnips etc) should have been planted way back in the Spring, don’t be too sad. You can still grow other tasty morsels like tuscan kale and brocoli raab. The Real Seed Catalogue has a great guide to produce you can grow in the Autumn and Winter months.

I’m looking forward to next year’s gardening already, especially now that we’ve found a way to keep the chooks out of the vegetable beds.  On the menu for next year will be forays into onions and garlic as well as mastering those finicky Mediterranean herbs.

I’d love to hear what you’ve learnt about gardening this year? Triumphs and disasters of course.


Kalyn September 13, 2009 at 19:40

How fun! Great photos, and I love seeing what you’re growing. Isn’t it just so much fun to grow your own veggies? This has been one of my worst garden years for a long time (I was just too distracted with renovations to give the garden much care) and I still got lots of wonderful produce. Nothing beats it!

Wendy September 13, 2009 at 19:47

Wonderful post!! Well done you. This has been my third year of growing and I still feel like such a novice. Still haven’t learnt the succession lesson either…
Thank you for the winter veg reminder. I haven’t grown in the colder months before but would quite like to this year. So much on my plate just now. Perhaps I’ll see how you get on and use your advice to grow winter veg next year instead.
P.S. I love that salad shot. Just beautiful.

kathryn September 13, 2009 at 23:31

Lovely post Sophie. It’s really interesting to read what and how much you’ve grown, and what’s worked for you. Your cat looks so happy in that last shot, imagining she’s a wild thing in the forest.
I can barely imagine “too much radish”.

Johanna September 14, 2009 at 03:00

That cat photo is great and those vegetables look wonderful. No wonder the chooks want to share.
I have only some pots – mostly herbs – and yet they give me great satisfaction to find an ingredient out the back when cooking. Watching nature unfurl is also such a wonder!

Sophie September 14, 2009 at 07:38

I think that the produce in your garen looks great!! I love all of your vegetables & herbs!!
My father grows also yellow & green courgettes in his garden!!
Your chard looks fab!! I didn’t know that there was yellow chard too! Does it tastes the same as Rainbow swiss chard?

Arwen from Hoglet K September 14, 2009 at 13:47

I love looking at homegrown photos too! You’re right about needing lots of sugar snap peas. I had only a couple on my balcony, and also feel like I should have planted more. I like your chicken-proof canopy.

Jeremy September 14, 2009 at 17:52

Lovely post and pics, but I disagree about the radishes. The number shown in the photo, at any rate, was a perfect breakfast for two.

Helen @ World Foodie Guide September 14, 2009 at 18:13

Your garden looks stunning! And I’m pleased to see one of the hens looking so well. How does the cat get along with the chickens by the way? I ask because the cats that we have, as well as the neighbours’ cats, have to deal with some very large ducks every day from the lake (and the ducks always seem to win)…

Elaine September 14, 2009 at 21:35

A lovely end-of-the-summer post, Sophie. Beautiful & inspiring photos, too. You’ve accomplished a great deal in your first gardening year — I suspect you have green toes as well as green thumbs & fingers.
I have to agree with Kathryn & Jeremy – not too many radishes for me either. They’re another cool season crop so I think I will sow seeds in a couple or three small pots this week.
Your chard is gorgeous. As someone who used to grow only ornamentals, I think a vegetable garden can be as pleasing to the eye as a purely decorative garden.
I think every garden needs some carefully selected contained fauna as well as flora. How brilliant you even grew some from “seed” ;-). Equally ingenious: your coop for the garden.
I have a long list of lessons learned this year in my own garden. #1: I MUST schedule sowing dates on a calender, not just save helpful lists & calendars to my computer. I also didn’t grow enough sugar snap peas — just to let you know, even 5 plants aren’t enough for two people. And I could go on and on with the “goofs”. The greatest triumph. Fresh greens everyday from mid-Spring through early summer. I agree, greens are “gold”, particularly when you look at the price of mesclun in the grocery store.
Oops, this comments is turning into a post.
In closing: wonderful, wonderful garden and chook habitat. I’m looking forward to more gardening stories & photos in the seasons to come.

joey September 16, 2009 at 10:25

What a wonderful inspiring post! I live in the city, in a small flat, with one plant (a kaffir lime)…I would love to be able to grow my own vegetables though…still dreaming!

Deborah Dowd September 21, 2009 at 01:11

What beautiful pictures and prose-it was like a retrospective of summer- so welcome as we move to fall.

Deborah Dowd September 21, 2009 at 01:14

What beautiful pictures and prose-it was like a retrospective of summer- so welcome as we move to fall.

chelsea September 21, 2009 at 18:04

Gorgeous photos – and so inspiring too! The rewards from all the work put into creating and maintaining a garden (no matter the size) are such a joy. Yours looks so healthy!

Sophie September 25, 2009 at 19:08

Nice to hear the humble radish has such staunch supporters, Jeremy, Kathryn and Elaine. I cropped the photo rather harshly – there were a lot more of the little pink chaps off shot! You’ll be happy to hear I’ve planted a few more for a winter crop.
Elaine – you’ll have to give me your secret – fresh greens every day is quite an achievement!
Sophie – my chard is pink, yellow and orange. The variety is called Bright Lights, but I suspect it is actually the same as rainbow chard. It’s a little bit more tannic than the green, white-veined variety.
Helen – our chickens have only been with us for about 3 months but they’re already terrorising the cats and chasing them. The cats seem to be taking it in good humour so far and enjoy sitting on top of the chicken house as their chosen place of safety.
Arwen – interesting to hear that you found sugar snaps unproductive too. From Elaine’s comment is sounds like you have to have a whole sugar snap patch!
Wendy & Kalyn – you’ve really inspired me to get planting this year!
Johanna, Joey, Deborah and Chelsea – thanks so much for leaving a note to tell me that you enjoyed the photos. I’m encouraged to post about my garden again later in the year (fingers crossed for the Winter sowings!)

Helen September 27, 2009 at 18:08

Well, you already know about mine! Your efforts are way more impressive though. Oh, how I wish I had the space to grow rainbow chard. One day…Your garden is absolutely beautiful by the way.

Tea October 7, 2009 at 05:59

What a delight to find your lovely site (Emma’s Music mentioned us both in her round up). I’m just trying to bang out a post about my garden this summer, so it’s fun to see the results of someone else’s efforts.
I learned that if you buy a packet of chard that has 50 seedlings in it, you shouldn’t plant them all! I had chard coming out of my ears this summer. Happily my allotment garden has a food bank donation program, and I now have a freezer full of greens, but boy was it hard to keep up.
On the flip side, I don’t think it’s possible to ever plant too many peas. Or strawberries.
Thanks for sharing your garden. January 28, 2015 at 12:22

By contrast, modern medicine and society place more importance on masking the symptoms, keeping a stiff
upper lip, knocking it on the head and getting back on the horse as quickly as possible.
As an adult I’m overwhelmed by the constant stimulation of
the technical world we live in. When danger is near, stress and anxiety is a natural occurrence.

Previous post:

Next post: