A Happy Gardening New Year

That’s what I’m hoping for. And if I do some preparation and planning, and the weather gods decide to play along, then that’s what will happen. Well maybe….

Memo to Self

All that potential…. just imagine it – fresh tomatoes, herbs, salads and  greens. Then there is all the fruit to nibble on when you are in the garden. You have to keep your energy up somehow!

A Hatful of Summer Salad

What do you want to repeat…. Peas, peas, peas! The climbing peas were fantastic last year, the peppers in the greenhouse were a delight – flavoursome and they grew so well and the summer squash were a new discovery. Let’s try to repeat it

What do you want to do differently or better …… Use the greenhouse space well. Get some early salads off to a good start. Don’t bother with aubergines in the greenhouse, the space is too precious and the flavour difference was not that great.

Recylcing for Storage

What will be new… create a new challenge….. There is always something new to try, alongside the firm favourites, whether it’s a different type of vegetable or a different variety. Life is full of potential. Cornichon’s, Yard Long Beans, Romanesco. I’d love to try to grow some lentils (puy), chickpeas and soya beans but need to see if I can get some extra land from the allotment committee. My name is at the top of the list, let’s hope something comes up soon. And maybe, just maybe I’ll throw caution to the wind and try my hand at Sweet Potatoes.

Seed Trays

Must do better …..

  • Herbs – you never ever manage to grow enough of them. They need to be close at hand, they are lovely in the greenhouse, thrive and help with pest control but aren’t as accessible. Figure it out! Could 2012 be the year of the Curry Leaf? I have some tips to try.
  • In April try and remember to sow parsnips, the winter garden isn’t a winter garden without them.
  • Try Celeriac again, I like the flavour but what I really want to see is them growing on my plot warts and all, but you will need to water it!
  • Broad Beans ….. Pleeeeeaaase, it would be great if you could make an appearance this year. And if we have another dry Spring, be prepared to water them.
  • Get fruity! Protect them from the birds, you know in previous years you didn’t net properly. Well do it!
  • Pick sweetcorn when it’s ready, don’t be lazy and not do it or the Badgers will get it ALL.
  • Keep sowing, small amounts at a time, that way you will have salads all year, won’t have to deal with gluts. Plug the gaps – think a bit more about the leaner times
  • Make some early sowings of Pak Choy and other greens for stir frys or salads
  • Fennel – was a dud last year. Try and get it right like previous years, and remember to water it
  • Before you order and then plant them, consider how many potatoes you eat. Answer is not that many! But do try the TPS again, they are fun
  • Sow carrots for an autumn crop. You’ll appreciate it if you do!
  • Sow more Butter Beans, you never see them in the shops
  • And will I ever get decent heads of Cauliflowers? Not unless you net and water them you won’t!

Can you see a theme appearing? Hum, it’s about remembering to sow seeds and then water plants. I’m a bit of a “treat ’em mean and keep ’em keen” kind of gardener. But sometimes, needs must!

Successes ….

  • The soil is in it’s best condition yet, keep working at it. Feed the soil and you will feed your plants. Don’t let up on the manure and mulching. There is always more room for mulching!
  • I started to write about and photograph the plot and the veggies, continue it. I now have a garden diary, of some sorts, for the first time in my life.
  • Seed saving and swapping got better last year too. Try something new to save seeds from this year.

Pest Control and more companion planting. Yes I can net against pigeons and aphids to a certain extent, but try and remember to sow / plant LOTS of marigolds. And when I say lots and you’ve sown them, sow some more a week later. You known it makes sense. The greenhouse and the cabbages will appreciate them!

And lastly…..

Tomatoes grown outside like the Cherry varieties, pleeeeeaaase grow well. They bombed last year and summer isn’t summer without sitting in the garden picking a few tomatoes to munch on while you potter.

Which means we need some heat and warmth in the summer days. So seeing as I’m placing my weather order now, could we have some light rain in the evenings as well?

Show and tell PICTURES – where are they? I’ve created a new page 🙂

Sitting Back looking at 2011 and peering into 2012 …..

And having jotted these notes down, what I realise is that whether or not I’m successful with certain plants, whether I forget some things, if I get others wrong it doesn’t really matter. And this is where I’m fortunate, I’m not relying on my vegetable plot to feed us. I can supplement it with shop bought food. It’s my hobby. So that makes me VERY lucky indeed.

So the garden and the gardening are for my pleasure, to supplement our diets, to eat great fresh food that is organically grown, is full of flavour, often is from an heirloom seed. All of this means I get to enjoy it. And that’s the key. Yes I think gardening is a gene within my DNA and it is something I have always HAD to do, or maybe I should say WANT to do. But essentially it’s an outlet for me, to be outside, to get my hands in the earth, to sow some seeds and watch them germinate, to look after them while they are growing, to eat their fruit and then to compost the remains to be dug back in for compost. A cycle of life and gardening. But often it’s the pauses and the quiet time between the rush of digging, sowing and picking that are the best. The time I get to spend outdoors, the creativity of it all, the positivity that is involved in creating a garden.

For those moments are the happiest. And that’s what I wish for. And not just for me.


  • Lovely, simply lovely! What could be better than a hat-full of summer salad? I need to get more diligent this year too. Looking forward to seeing what you can accomplish in spite of the weather.
    ~ Lynda

  • A gardening book is an excellent idea. I am popping this post on my FB gardening page, hope that is OK! This is a goodie! c

  • 2012 as a year of growth, beauty, variety, adventure, calmness–perfect in the garden and out. I admire your plans and will do my tiny part to participate too (Texas summer drought allowing)–at least I’ll have you to rely upon for vicarious garden beauty! Cheers!

    • Hi Kathryn, now I’m looking forward to reading and seeing your Texan garden 🙂 In my mind every place has it’s beauties, they are just different from each other

  • Now that’s a plan! And I’ve every confidence that you won’t fall short. So, here’s to 2012 and all things green and beautiful coming your way!

  • I’m thinking of moving my garden diary to a page on Misk Cooks as it never attracts any traffic or comment sitting out there in nowhereland. 🙂 Happy gardening!

  • The seed catalogs are piling up on the desk! Time to get planning!
    I think we’re going to have to have a legitimate pumpkin patch this year…every kid needs to grow pumpkins!
    Happy Dreaming and Planning!

    • That’s my next job too, to look at the seed catalogues, oh the temptations!
      And a pumpkin patch, that will be a lot of fun! Have you ever tried writing/scratching names into the sides of the pumpkins with a pin/or something sharp, and watch as the name gets bigger as the pumpkin grows?

  • We all really do need to do more planning with our gardens. The one thing I’m planning not to do is plant so many tomatoes this year. I said that last year and I didn’t listen to myself. Maine has not had much snow this year, so maybe it will be melted before the middle of May. Here’s hoping I can plant earlier at the summer cottage.

  • I’m enchanted by your garden plans! Will very much enjoy tagging along as they unfold.
    I too wish for a better tomato crop this year!

  • What a grand year you have planned for 2012. I have been hanging back on our garden until I know if my hubby and I are re-locating to Namibia for 3 years. All I have planted are herbs – can’t be without my fresh herbs.
    Have a fantastic 2012.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Hi Mandy, a move to Namibia would be fascinating reading for me :), somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. But I understand what you mean about not wanting to start sowing and planting before you know for sure.

  • Thanks so much for the gardening inspiration. I should start a notebook too–maybe this will be the year, now that I am trying to improve my garden and gardening skills. I am counting on your blog to keep me motivated to get planting when the weather is rainy and cold this spring.

    • Hi Nanacy, and thank you for popping in. I’ve tried various notebooks and do well up until the madness of mid summer when it’s an all out effort to keep sowing, planting and picking, and that’s when the notebooks don’t seem to get updated as much.
      And thank you for the lovely compliment, I’m looking forward to reading about your gardening too 🙂

  • Wow! I fantasised about growing tomatoes for years when I lived in a London flat with no garden. I moved into a place with a garden and only got as far as buying seeds. Will be sure to get some tips.

    • Hi, and thanks for popping in 🙂 Tomatoes are great grown in large pots in a sunny corner. And honestly once you have tasted your own homegrown tomatoes you will sulk like mad when you have to buy them!

  • I used to have a garden at work — down in the sunny flats of Berkeley. Here in the foggy, shady section of Kensington I make do with three cherry tomato plants a year, set in buckets in our driveway and keep a little chives and mint alive outside in pots. I’d like to have more herbs — guess that means I’ll have to buy some plants in the spring, which sometimes comes in February here in California.

    • Spring in February sounds a treat!
      I sometimes buy those pots of parsley and basil from the supermarkets, the ones they sell as living herbs, and what I do when I get home is divide them and pot them up separately into smaller pots and let them grow on like that. So from one plant I’ll get maybe 5 plants which equals more herbs 🙂

  • You’re almost on your way to producing some of the freshest and finest fruits and vegetables that you’ve ever tasted. The final step to gardening success is to water your plants and seeds immediately after you put them in the ground. Start by showering the entirety of your garden with water. Make sure that every part of your garden patch receives a solid 30-60 seconds of soaking. This initial soaking is important and helps make sure the new seeds or roots receive water. In heavy soil, water may take hours to seep down 6-12” so it’s important to make sure you are providing enough water to get each and every plant so that growth can start the right way.

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