Welcome to Gardening Bore 2024!

by | Mar 6, 2024 | Gardening bore | 6 comments

Don’t get too excited, because I haven’t exactly done much in the garden yet. Okay, I haven’t done anything in the garden yet. Even though it’s March, I’m still in that February mindset of beginning to think about the veg garden, but not quite being ready to do any of the work yet. I’ve planned the beds and ordered my seeds, but nothing more. Well, I’ve occasionally wandered around the veg garden with a cup of coffee in my hand, thinking about the growing season ahead. Does that count as gardening?

Our veg beds are currently a mess of dead and withering growth from last season. But that’s normal for this time of year. I never clear my beds before winter. I let the garden break down whatever it can naturally over winter, then I’ll clear any remaining top growth in spring before adding a fresh layer of compost. I don’t dig the beds over. (We try to disturb the soil as little as possible. Sometimes it might need a little loosening with a fork in order to plant something, but that’s as far we go normally.)

I used to feel guilty about this lack of digging and perfectly preparing the ground. Our neighbour spends weeks every November and December meticulously digging and turning over every inch of his soil. He goes into winter with perfectly neat, bare beds everywhere. So do most of our neighbours. Meanwhile, our veg beds are littered with spindles of kale, decomposing squash vines, and the last of the chard clinging to life. The neighbours probably think we’re lazy feckers, but I think it’s old fashioned (and pointless) to dig the ground so thoroughly. Charles Dowding says the no-dig method is better for the soil, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, come summer, our garden will be just as abundant as the neighbours’. And I’ll hopefully go into old age with my lower back still intact!

But I must admit it’s time to get out there and start clearing the decks. I can feel the urge to strap on my dungarees and get working. The first tinges of gardening excitement. I should probably be out there right now, making the most of March, but I’m in England for the next couple of weeks, so our poor neglected beds will stay that way until late March. It’s okay. There’s no rush. I’m deliberately sowing everything a bit later this year so I don’t get caught out by chilly April temperatures. (I lost way too many plants last April and May. I’ve learned my lesson.)

My main goal this year is to grow more greens, both for salads and cooking. You might want to prepare yourself for this revelation but I won’t be growing any kale this year. I know, right? Shocking. I still love kale. But I’ve had a few years’ straight of my kale being besieged by caterpillars (even with netting), so I’m not bothering this year. Instead, I’m going to try some new greens. We grew chard last year, which was such a success and lasted well into winter, so I’m doubling the space allocated to chard. I’m also trying pak choi, and something called ‘Bekana Chinese salad cabbage’. And of course, we’ll have the usual wild garlic in spring and nasturtiums across the summer.

I just hope I can keep all these lovely greens protected from our resident snail army – at least until the plants are big enough to withstand some munching here and there. Time will tell. Much depends on how wet and cold it is in April and May. But that’s the gardening gamble. Every year I roll the dice and hold my breath. Some years we get off to a brilliant start and it’s plain sailing from there. Other years it feels like spring is a right old slog – slogging through the rain and snails and seedling deaths. Having a greenhouse helps a lot (not least because we no longer have to navigate tables full of seedlings in our bedroom every spring). And sowing a little later should also help.

But for now, let’s enjoy this moment. When the hard work hasn’t yet started, the weeds are still slumbering, and the gardening year ahead is full of exciting promise. Here’s to Gardening Bore 2024! Please do share your Gardening Bore plans below…

 

The veg garden, summer 2023

6 Comments

  1. Katt

    I’m in the process of trying to plant out into a veg patch for the first time this year Auntie. I planted garlic yesterday and some peas last week both of which I’ve been told on line have gone in at the wrong time. Peas too early and garlic too late but I’m a novice I’ll learn. I’m.looking out for some seed potatoes and have leeks, tomatoes , peppers , beans and other stuff growing from seed on my basement kitchen window sill. I’m hoping that a good veg harvest will see me through the winter , fingers crossed.

    Reply
    • Auntie Bulgaria

      So much of gardening is trial and error, learning as you go. You’ll get there. If you struggle to find seed potatoes, you can always grow from supermarket potatoes. That’s what we do. So if you eat any particularly nice potatoes from the shop, save some for planting…

      Reply
  2. Bobby

    I really would have appreciated a current photo of the garden :( We need more real stuff in the gardening space. I’m trying my best as well :D

    Reply
    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Well, as I said, I’m in England at the moment so don’t have a picture as it is right now. But next time, Bobby!

      Reply
  3. Simon Hill

    Absolutely no mention of asparagus! It is super-yummy and blooming expensive in Kaufland, so we love growing it. Yes, we had a few false storts and growing asparagus from seeds seem to take forever (and then a bit longer). Asparagus is also a perennial veg and it is supposed to go on and on for twenty years or more, by which time our stocks of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and white wine will need to be replenished several times over.

    Reply
    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Well, I haven’t listed everything we grow, but yes, our homegrown asparagus is something we look forward to every spring. We never buy it. I’m keeping a watchful eye on the asparagus bed, as it should start poking up any day now. Is yours up yet, Simon?

      As a regular visitor, you know we also grew our asparagus from seed, which takes an age, but is very rewarding. But for any new visitors, you can just type asparagus in the search bar to read our many adventures with this precious veg…

      Reply

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