Anyone new to gardening and thinking of doing the edible garden thing I would say should buy a few books and because I’m doing this on the cheap those second hand book stores are invaluable, I’m not botanist but I’m guessing plants really don’t change that much between publishers printing cycles.
I have four books that I keep going back to The Thrifty Gardener and The Edible Garden both by Alys Fowler and The Edible Garden TV show is also available on Youtube. Her books are easy to read and beautifully illustrated and with really good photography, the cover price for both books when new was £36 with a second hand price of £5 for the pair which is a proper bargain and having read The Thrifty Gardener I don’t think Alys would mind my cheapo approach one little bit.
I also have the RHS Grow Your Own Kitchen Garden Year which was a few quid in the second hand bookstore but I swapped some seedlings for it and a copy of The Allotment Handbook, the problem with swapping things is that I have to be careful to leave enough plants for me.
Preparing the garden is physically hard work but the closer I get to feeding time the more rewarded I feel, I get a buzz out of watching the squash grow in their old take out coffee cups and the peas and beans sprouting on the windows sill and I can’t wait to plant them out knowing that at some point I’ll be able to harvest my little plot. Well I would be if the snails and slugs don’t beat me to my own food. It seems they love nothing more than some tasty radish leaves which is a shame because I LOVE tasty radishes but at this rate I won’t have any to eat, where do all those little buggars come from?
The really annoying thing is that I’ve had a garden FULL of weeds why didn’t the snails and slugs eat them? Why do they wait until I put MY food in the ground the decide chow down. My Gran used to used beer traps which were basically a plastic tub with a hole cut in the top and beer on the inside now I don’t know if snails and slugs have gotten smarter or perhaps they aren’t partial to Spitfire beer but so far the little critters aren’t even tempted and it’s really frustrating because if you google what to do loads of people say beer.
I could use slug and snail pellets but that would defeat the object of trying to live organically as possible and while it’s annoying it’s not the end of the world, this year is all about getting the garden ready for next year and learning the basics that will hopefully stand me in good stead moving forward.
Looking through the books I have I really should have started putting the garden together last year over late Autumn and Winter but this time cock-up on my part isn’t a bad thing because I have time to figure things out.
I know where I want my soft fruits to grow, but I what can I grown around the berries plants? Can I grow anything round them? I really want to get out of this granny mind set. She used to grow everything in straight lines, so did my dad and sister but want to avoid that, I want the loose structure of Alys Fowlers garden and I do actually lay in bed thinking about where I’ll plant my perennial plants.
Right now sat on my back door step looking at my garden there seems to be so much to do. How do I dig out the roots from the old Sycamore that I had felled so I can put up my chicken coop? There’s so much I don’t know and while I Love Monty Don and I’d kill to have Longmeadow as my playground and Gardeners’ World is a firm Iplayer favourite and I love Carol Klein and Joe Swift and I do learn stuff about gardening and plants but little about food and I’ve started to turn more and more to Youtube and yet again Alys has an allotment thing going on and she really does let you know how to grow and Monty’s old Fork to fork programme has thoughtfully been uploaded too.
While being spoon fed information would be easier the rewards to finding the answers for yourself is much better and while I’m looking for answers to a specific problem I’m constantly learning new things, I’m just frustrated that I want all the answers NOW and I’m slightly peeved that I don’t know the answers to my own questions it’s like I expect myself to have all the answers an know everything. I think I should stop kicking myself such a hard time and enjoy the learning process.