Monday, 7 January 2013

Growing and eating wishlist for 2013

Happy New Year!

It's been mild, dry and windy so far.  A brief respite from the mud and rain for our animals and a chance to get out in the garden for us.  Yesterday Paul started clearing the old chicken run area out, we moved the chickens to their free range area a couple of years ago and the old run has been left vacant for a while.  The plan this year is to move our existing fruit bushes into it.  At the moment our raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries are in the same part of the garden as the chickens and last year became overgrown and neglected, however, they did provide a lovely space for Fiona, our Cream Legbar, to lay all her eggs, it meant I was crawling about under scratchy plants trying to find them, not much fun.  By moving the plants we will be able to give them all more space and light, resulting in more fruit (and less lost eggs!)this summer.

Getting in the garden on the first weekend in January has also made us keen to plant and eat as much as possible this year.  Last night we feasted on a stew made from the last of our Cavalo Nero (loosely adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe), I cooked pancetta, onion, chorizo, tomatoes and some chunks of potato in red wine and stock for about 30 minutes, then added a couple of tins of butter beans, and some huge handfuls of roughly chopped Cavalo Nero - cooked for another 10 minutes to let the kale wilt and then seasoned with smoked paprika, a splash of red wine vinegar and topped with some parsley (we still have some growing in the polytunnel).  I have to say it was the best dinner this year (;-)).  So with the thought of making the most of our garden I have decided to list things that I would most like to grow in the garden (sadly trying to remember that we don't live in the south of the UK and are very much restricted by what we can grown up here in the far north).

Vegetable Garden Essentials 
(things we already grow, and eat and can't live without)

Cavalo Nero (of course)
Kale (the bigger type than Cavalo nero, can't remember it's name)
Onions and Shallots
Broad Beans
Garden Peas
Courgettes (especially Gold rush, beautiful yellow sunny ones)
Spinach (the perpetual one works best in our garden)
Lettuce - Romaine, Cos, and Rocket (although not sure if Rocket is a lettuce?)
Swiss (rainbow?) chard
Chili Peppers (inside the house, bit of a cheat but I love them)
Flat and curly parsley

Nice to have 
(have grown them before and want to grow again)

Purple Sprouting Brocoli - for some reason it hasn't done very well last few years
Pink Fir Apple Potatoes - had a potato free couple of years, but these are my faves
Strawberries - I grow the alpine ones in the herb garden but grown the 'big' ones for a while
Runner beans - taste great, hard to grow up here
Sweetcorn - grew in the garden once (a hot summer) then in the polytunnel but not very succesfully
Brussel sprouts (grew them in our last garden but they take up a lot of space)

Dream on...
(if only we didn't live in Aberdeenshire)

Squash - any kind, especially wee patty pan ones
Bell Peppers (especially those light green ones you get in Spain)

last year in the hen's free range garden (old raspberry canes behind their shelter)

As ever living up here, I think the worst of our winter weather has still to arrive (usually after my first snowdrops have appeared), but I love spending the long nights planning what to do when spring does arrive.


  1. I'm so envious of your gorgeous veggie growing, I have pet rabbits that love to free range and nothing is sacred, I even tried planting out in 50cm pots but of course they just leap into those & enjoy supper at high level. However, my latest lan is to plant vertically & as we have a walled garden there is plenty of space for high level planters so fingers crossed!

    1. We have chickens which free range in the fruit garden part of the garden, but I darent let them near the veggies as they are so destructive with their pecking and digging! Vertical planting sounds great, we have all our strawberries on raised benches in the polytunnel this year (to stop mould and mildew) and its working a treat. Very envious of your walled garden, we have friends with one and it provides a nice micro climate, they can grow lots more in there than we can.