Our vegetable garden: back from the brink

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The past few weeks have been a time of great contrasts in our vegetable garden. We seem to have gone from a near wipe-out of all our crops to amazing growth plus a new addition to our vegetable patch.

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Helen holds up one of our better tomato plants.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with our gardening adventures, Helen, Izzy and I have been growing potatoes and tomatoes. This follows a disastrous growing season in 2016.

We planted vegetables, only for me to get distracted by other things and fail to keep up with the gardening. I also failed to persuade the kids to play their part and in the end we ate nothing home grown at all.

I wasn’t going to let the same happen this year and so several weeks ago we planted potatoes. One of them was making very good progress only for there to be a very harsh and unexpected frost.

This killed the leaves poking above ground and none of the plants was showing any signs of growing. I thought we had a dud crop and was wondering what we should grow instead.

The mix of sunshine and rain, however, has worked wonders. Just look at the picture below. In a bid to encourage growth underground, I’ve trimmed the leaves because I was worried they’d simply put all their energy into growing stems and so on.

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I thought our potato crop was done for following an exceptionally hard frost. As you can see, some sunshine and rain did it wonders.

As for our tomoato plants, two of our five plants looked doomed a short while ago. The two doomed plants aren’t growing as quickly as the others, but they are showing some progress.

The other tomato plants have come on massively, as the picture at the very top shows. We are soon going to need to give them stakes as the stems won’t take the weight for much longer.

This year I had declared I was only going to grow what I knew. I then got a knock at the door and one of the neighbours was stood there.

This guy is a real character. I don’t know how old he is, but I’d wager he’s in his eighties.

He does a lot of gardening and DIY and Mrs Adams and I often watch aghast as he singlehandedly scales the roof of his house to work on it or climbs up tall ladders to pollard the willow tree in his garden.

He’s an amazing guy. The neighbourhood wouldn’t be the same without him

Anyway, he had planted all his runner beans and had some left over. Would I like them?

Well I could hardly say no to the neighbourhood legend could I? This was just a few days ago so the girls and I are still to plant them, but we will do so this weekend.

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The runner bean plants given to me by our neighbourhood legend. They need to be planted properly, but we’ll sort them out.

Helen and I also started clearing out the greenhouse. It was neglected last year and desperately needed some attention.

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Welcome to the jungle! What our greenhouse looked like before Helen and I tidied it up.

I think you’ll agree the before picture above is shocking. The after picture below is a huge improvement. There’s more to be done but we’ve come a long way!

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The greenhouse after the first phase of our tidying operation.

Finally, we planted some meadow grass seed in a bucket. The aim of this is to have a small patch that will encourage butterflies and other insects onto our lawn.

It is only a small gesture, but such a move is important. It adds to the eco system and makes the garden that tiny bit more eco-friendly.

Most importantly, it will help educate Helen and Izzy about the environment. They are becoming more environmentally aware and part of the reason for introducing them to gardening was to educate them about where food comes from and the natural world.

Next time around I’ll tell you how the runner beans are doing. I’ll also update you on the meadow grass, which should be growing. Hopefully we may have finished sorting out the greenhouse by then as well!

Are you growing anything in your vegetable garden? If so what are you growing and how is it going? I’d love to know as I am a keen gardener and like to know what other people are getting up to, especially if they involve the younger members of the family.

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