At this time of year, I start planning and dreaming about what I am to grow in my beloved kitchen garden.
When we bought the land to build our house on six years ago, there was absolutely nothing here garden wise. A former equestrian set up with a demolished cottage with permission to replace, a large stable block and a sand school. Where we dreamt of creating our garden, was just a car park, scrubby land and well......nothing. A garden could not be created until all the building work had been completed, with the exception of an area tucked away and free from 'build traffic' which measured approximately 30 x 12 metres. Immediately I earmarked this as the perfect place for my kitchen garden! Desperate to complete a creative project, while the long drawn out saga of planning permission took place, we set to work in creating our dream kitchen garden.
I had always grown vegetables since first married, inspired by a childhood where my mother grew our own. But in our previous home I had to contend with poor clay soil with overhanging trees and and a functional but uninspiring small patch. This new site was very different, and I really wanted to make the most of it.
My dream was of a formal 'potager'. Symmetrically laid out raised beds, around a pretty greenhouse and enclosed on four sides . Through sheer hard work we created the raised beds and gravel path ways, shipped in top soil and mountains of manure. All was ready for the greenhouse and a planting marathon the following spring.
I have had my 'potager' for four years now, and my passion for it, and the joy of growing super fresh, organic vegetables for us all, never wanes. It is my greatest 'simple pleasure' in life.........
So, this is my month of planning. With the short damp and cold winter days and long dark evenings, it is always inspiring and encouraging to go through the seed catalogues and my gardening books, to choose the seeds for the year, trying to include new and unusual or untried vegetable seed varieties.........and to start dreaming of spring!