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Saturday, 6 February 2010

Dig for Victory!

Recently Jeanne over at Tales from a Cottage Garden posted about views from the kitchen window. here. I took this photo of the view from my kitchen window ....

and this one from the back door (sorry the flash is reflected in the glass) alongside the window intending to post them that day.

About the same time I received in the post a couple of beautiful catalogues from Sarah Raven which are a delight to look through with beautiful photographs of wonderful things to grow.

I also found her book in the library full of beautiful pictures of her kitchen garden.

You can guess what's coming next can't you? I was inspired to grow some of these wonderful veggies, herbs and salads myself. Problem is we don't yet have a veggie plot having moved here last winter we didn't do much in the garden last year until we knew where the sun shone and where it was cold or hot etc. The previous owner had apparently had a space for vegetables but when her husband died she had it covered over with membrane and pebbles - as you can see in the photos taken from the window.

Are you still with me - I will get to the point in a minute if you can bear to hold on a little longer!

I suddenly got the urge to start on making a vegetable garden - we have always grown some of our own and even had allotments (yes in the plural) in the past and a huge garden with a plot for vegetables in our garden in France.

We would need to remove the pebbles and membrane and then dig in plenty of compost and bingo we'd have a garden ready to plant some of these wonderful seeds!

Easier said than done of course! It was such hard work raking back the pebbles and dragging up the membrane that we only achieved a small area before darkness fell.

Bears little or no resemblance to Sarah's photographs does it?! I wonder if it ever will!!

We did have some fresh greenery to go with our salad though even if it didn't actually come from the garden. I had thought to try growing some peas indoors for the tops having seen some pea tops on sale in Waitrose at an exhorbitant price. As you can see we did have some success with these and will be repeating the exercise although according to the library book I should have used a different variety for best results but these were the peas we had already so we used them.

When I think back to our allotment days when we cleared our allotment of 8 ft tall blackberry brambles and grew all manner of vegetables at the same time as working and bringing up our daughter I wonder what happened to all that energy! But then when I work it out it was probably 20 odd years ago and we didn't have our bus passes then! Even so a tray of pea tops looks incredibly paltry up against what we used to be able to produce and what is shown in the photos in the book!. Patience Jane - little by little a vegetable garden will be made. Further installments to follow if we are still able to stand upright or perhaps that should be if I can sit at the computer and my fingers still work!!


  1. Looking forward to seeing how it comes along! I have phases of sprouting all sorts of seeds indoors, and they're always a great addition to a salad. Ben is our outdoor veg gardener. You sound like you have so much experience, Jane - I'm sure you'll put it to good use!

  2. Your vegi garden looks lovely and can't wait to see the result after all your hard work!! My mum and I have put our name on a list for an Allotment and I am really excited to start growing all the juicy greens!!
    Lucy xx

  3. Oh you brave thing, thats quite a big project! But so worth it. I can't wait to have a big vegetable garden when we move to France. Everybody in France seems to have a veggie garden and I always look at them longingly, thinking, One Day.....

  4. I will have to do one about my view and the difference between now with snow and the summer with my garden.... Great idea.

  5. It's going to be brill, look forward to seeing the progress throughout the year.

  6. Hey Jane,
    Big oaks from small acorns and all that jazz.... this is a great start and after all, until the ground warms up a bit there is only so much preparation you can do. We've been re-designing our garden on paper in recent days but haven't put our hands to the spade yet so you're way in front of us. Sarah Raven makes it all look so tempting doesn't she and her use of colour is wonderful. I love those combinations of rich reds and chartreuse/acid green with bright zingy oranges... now I can't wait myself! Have a great weekend but ...pace yourself!! Lesley x

  7. That's a fantastic amount of space you have there, perfect for veggies and it'll sure keep you busy. I shall watch your progress with interest. My husband worked so hard for me last year, clearing away an area where I could do some vegetable growing and we did plant some stuff but then we went away for the Summer and the whole lot was ruined. Now it's a bed of weeds and he won't let me forget it. If you do it, I'll do it - move over Sarah Raven? xx

  8. I can see it already! It looks like a good spot for a vege garden- should get plenty of sun and will look lovely from the kitchen window too.

    I thought the view from the kitchen window was a great idea for a post when I came across it too.

  9. Ooh how is the back this morning?

    Jane, you have a perfect sized plot there for a vegetable garden. I'm sure with your experience you will be able to get something going and Sarah Raven certainly offers lots of inspiration. Her cutting garden is very seductive. I look forward to following your progress throughout the year.
    Coincidentally we are rejigging little Cottage Garden this year into something resembling more of a veg plot. I raised a fair bit last year but I want to grow more. We will be able to encourage and inspire one another!

    Thank you for joining in and posting your kitchen window view.

    Jeanne x

  10. Looks good. I'll look forward to comparing my plot with yours over the next year! I think you'll get a head start as I won't be able to get going for another few weeks.

  11. Good luck with the veggies I sure you will have great success. At least the the membrane and pebbles were better than it being concreted over. I stared adding sugar-snap and mange-tout tops to my salads last year, but hadn't thought of growing them over winter.

  12. Lots to look forward to. I love getting my hands in the soil. The veg is so much tastier when home grown.

  13. Small steps! You'll get there eventually and we'll all enjoy following your progress :-) Of course you've seen my back yard this week - no sign of the ground, still under over two feet of snow! We've been lucky and already made it out to the shops.
    More snow forecasted for tomorrow - would you like some? :-)
    Have a lovely day.

  14. That's going to be a fabulous veggie plot - I can't wait to see what you grow (and make).

    Here's to produce and the start of the growing season - if the blooming snow ever stops!!

    Have a lovely week,

    Nina xxxx

  15. There is nothing like being at one with the earth, I know you will inspire me to grow something edible in my wee garden! Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to gardening! Loving your pics too x

  16. It must be that time of year, gardens and tidying up. When school breaks up this week, my 20 minutes may go out of the window.

    Looks like you have everything under control

  17. Your photos are so lovely to see!
    When I look back and remember how I took our garden for granted in New Zealand, I feel a pang. Never had such luck over here.


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