Ok, so this might not be a scummy vegan cake/othertastydish post but its subject *is* edible and it *is* vegan so bear with me...Of late one of my most favourite things to do in the whole world, and as such what most of my time has been spent doing, is gardening and it is this passion that I feel pardons me from a slightly off topic post. Plus I shall post an enormously amazing recipe using the fruits of my labour when they have finished labouring. Honest.
I am terrible for remembering to take 'before' photos of projects and this case was no different. My project was basically my very own 'grow your own' which centred around the removal of a decades old sprawling compost heap (I'm sure there must have been literally tonnes of compost to shift) and in its place construction of two raised beds for delicious home grown veggies. Now, picture the biggest heap of soil you can, cover it with weeds, nettles and scratchy brambles, add in some trickily dug in metal poles and a foul smell, make the whole pile that bit bigger... and you're ready to continue reading.
In a way it is an effective 'before' as they are yet to be full of bounty, although they are getting there. As an added bonus they were made from some bargain basement priced decking, posts and all for less than £14. Currently in bed no. 1 (I'm thinking now perhaps a more charming name might encourage it to grow better? suggestions welcome) ...
there's mange tout,
an abundance of radishes (- the overflow 'thinnings' of which have now been transplanted to bed no. 2),
beetroot that's just beginning to come to life,
a few rows of round carrots that now are starting to actually look like carrots,
also just emerging are spinach, borage, mixed salad leaves and 2 courgette plants,
Not to mention some stylish bird deterers i.e. 2 CDs back to back and a string of jingle bells
For a prettier back drop to the area than a bare fence I also fanned some already existing current bushes along the fence leaving a section to plant some tall growing delicious smelling sweet peas (this is the area you can see in the second pic). These sweet peas gave me the tinsiest bit of heart ache as as soon as I had planted the idea let alone the seeds, I could smell the beautiful wall of flowers but the blighters just weren't coming up. Weeks and weeks I checked on brown dull soil until patience finally prevailed and now I happily have quite a few adventurous little shoots coming out to make the most of life.
I also decided to plant a trench against a shed wall to make the area a little less ugly, and these ones are popping up too - yay!
Luckily the cat who decided to come and see what was going on got distracted by the grass before noticing my precious sweet peas
Waiting in the green room for their moment of fame are perhaps the ones i'm most excited about,
Can you guess what it is yet? Perhaps not. These are my sweetcorn some of which are destined for a space in the raised beds and some of which I shall probably keep in the greenhouse as an experiment. I really hope I actually get to pick and eat a big golden cob from these babies, mmm sweetcorn. There's also chilli avenue and a large number of tomatoes both of which I grew from those gimicky 99p cardboard carton cups, one from Wilkinsons our Woolies replacement and one from a garden centre. Both were equally and very successful, you get plenty enough plants for the average household. The tomatoes I'm wary about, I haven't heard much positive about growing them overly successfully and my new gardening icon/ person I so want to be Mrs Fowler almost put me off, perhaps I shall prove the tougher gardener. I've even planned ahead and prepared marigolds for companion planting with them, fingers crossed.
Plant suggestions for the shadier half of bed 2 would be much appreciated, today I put some of my BBC 'dig it' free carrot and salad seeds in the first half but there's still a bit of space to fill. I have french beans still to come but I decided against a picture of these thinking perhaps although each shoot is unique and special to me they are perhaps akin to other peoples baby photos for anyone else :)
I really am very taken with the whole gardening process at the moment, and if nothing else it provides a plus point and distraction to living at home whilst you are an unempolyed postgrad looking for work (yes in case you hadn't guessed already this is sadly not my very own garden). I am considering taking an RHS horticultural qualification once I have a job, and have discovered that I could start with the advanced course already having a science background. Has anyone had experience of this course or other distance learning? Currently though I am just enjoying the garden whilst I can, I'm sure when I do manage to move somewhere I can walk to the shops, the cinema, veggie restaurants, and work I shall have to sacrifice a lot of planting space and the green view from my bedroom window.