In Over My Head Again?

kale kept going all through the winter (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
kale kept going all through the winter
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

I bought a broccoli for the first time last week in ages. A strange triumph to some but it sure felt good to me that we had fresh broccoli and kale through the winter. But it got me thinking, if I could manage that much (by accident) during the winter, then what could I manage with a bit of planning during the summer? What would I need to plant in order to keep us in veg this year? A whole heap is what. But I keep telling myself to be clever about things and not overdo it in the big scheme.

I don’t want plants that require I do a lot of digging. Rules out Jerusalem artichokes and horseradish this year so.

dreaming the dream so long ago (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
dreaming the dream so long ago
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

I want plants that once established, aren’t demanding and are going to look after themselves. That rules out spuds – I just know I won’t earth them up when needed and will be otherwise occupied come blight weather.

I want plants that are going to give me bang for my buck and earn their keep. I’ve decided that this year, that rules out onions. I can get them cheaply enough in supermarkets and I really haven’t had much luck with them in the garden yet.

I want plants that I love to eat. That rules out turnips and parsnips. They are fine in stews and parsnip crisps are great but I have limited space and really want to capitalise on it. Besides, they mean more digging.

So with all that in mind, my uncle and I headed to the garden centre for coffee and a crossword. The Little Paddler and I were late yet again. (This will come as no surprise to those that know me in the flesh.) I found him at the till asking the girls to put aside a viburnum for him. It made his day to find it. He has been admiring granny’s for a while now and threatening to take cuttings every time it comes in to flower. After a brutal attempt at the crossword we hit the seed stands and the two of us cut loose. I tried to bear all my criteria in mind and stayed away from all the lovely heirloom potatoes that kept catching my eye and kept my back to the onion sets and garlic bulbs and horseradish roots. I may however have been a little enthusiastic on the rest of the seed selection. Especially when you take in to account that I still have half opened packets from last year. But sure look-it, who doesn’t love a bit of experimenting in the garden?

a glut of green tomatoes (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
a glut of green tomatoes
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

I tried to keep to cherry tomatoes as I felt I stood more of a chance getting them ripened. But they were offering certain packets of seeds free for every two packets of a particular brand. Who am I to refuse a freebie? In went the salad tomatoes and the cauliflower despite their dismal performance last year. I am a sucker for dry roasted curried cauliflower – don’t knock it till you have tried it. I didn’t like the round courgettes last year so I have gone back to the more traditional shaped fruit. And I am a sucker for unusually coloured vegetables, so in went golden cherry tomatoes, purple beans and salad leaves and borlotto climbing beans. Some of the free packets were flowers so of course I picked them up. Purely for the bio-diversity aspect of attracting pollinators you understand.

So here is what I got:


I got a little enthusiastic (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
I got a little enthusiastic
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)


Cauliflower: Snowball

Chili Pepper: Tabasco

Climbing Bean: Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco (Firetongue)


Dwarf/French Bean: Purple Teepee

Pea: Oasis

Salad Leaves: A mix selection of Pak Choi / Tatsoi / Greek Cress / Mizuna / Mustard

Sweet Peppers: Mini Bell Mixed F1 Hybrid / Sweet Boneta

Tomatoes: Ildi / Harbinger / Sweet Aperitif / Sweet Baby



Antirrhinum/Snapdragons: Lucky Lips

Malva: Common Mallow

Sweet Pea: Heirloom Bicolour Mixed


After going through everything new and leftover from last year, I realise, of course, that I forgot aubergines. I have taken up my dad’s project of trying to grow aubergines. They fruited last year for me but were largely inedible. I hope for greater things this year. But I seem to live in hope as a general rule. This year, I shall attempt to learn from last year’s mistakes and plant little and often. Could someone kindly remind me of this more than sensible plan when the enthusiasm overtakes the common sense?





7 thoughts on “In Over My Head Again?

    1. Great idea Gretta. There are actually some leftover seeds from last year so I’ll be using them up but think I’ll do one or two plants every few weeks instead of what I did last year which was plant a heap in one go.


  1. I love it when you’re in over your head…because then you make me laugh…and we all know I need to laugh right now…and how absolutely beautiful is that purple broccoli—who knew!!?? I’ve never seen the purple variety…kind of like me and my Black Russian tomatoes or the snuggles—Gregory is always leery when I start introducing “colors” that are not his idea of typical 🙂
    Plant and harvest on…
    and Emer’s and Mary’s star is still shining on dad’s dresser 🙂


  2. Best of luck with the growing. This year i’m growing, mangetout, peas, parsnips, carrots, onions, tomatoes, outdoor cucumber, lettuce, basil, fennel, brocolli, poppy seeds (for baking), french beans plus fruit that I already have

    I’m hoping to freeze the peas as they ripen to help avoid thise awful plastic bags theyre sold in.

    Got my seeds from and

    Liked by 1 person

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