A New Approach to Gardening

Fresh start

I know the weather this year has been frustrating for anyone in the UK trying to grow stuff. My frustration has been further complicated by my tendency to bite of more than I can chew with projects like these. Add to that my summer travels, and this year’s garden was a bit of a disaster.

So I’ve decided to get a fresh start. Yesterday I cleared out the raised bed and prepared a few trays and pots. The new approach: rather than trying to grow every vegetable that I’ve ever loved, ever, I’m going to try to master one vegetable at a time, and once that happens I’ll move on to the next thing.

My first vegetable: leaves. If I can successfully grow salad leaves, it would save me soooo much money. But which leaves? Well, one could argue that I’ve bit off more than I can chew again, but my theory is that all leaves will have the same watering schedule and maintenance requirements, I might as well experiment with a few and see what works best.

Salad seeds

Ok I know radishes aren’t a “leaf” but what the hell. I’ve put several varieties in the raised bed to see how they fare over winter: endives, perpetual spinach, rocket and someΒ hearty “winter” leaves from Carla Tomasi. The rest are going in the pseudo-greenhouse: mizuna, parsley, Suttons “Leaf Salad” whatever that is, and more rocket (I’m curious to see how it fares under cover vs outside). There’s also an additional tray of the winter leaves that I started last week undercover – those have already sprouted, which gives me hope I can actually do this.

Autumn greenhouse


It hasn’t been an entire failure. I’ve had a few cucumbers, some chillis, and salad leaves earlier in the year. I also managed to salvage one pumpkin from the slugs, and there are a few ‘Brazillian Oval Orange’ aubergine coming in (a minor miracle in this climate).

Brazillian Orange Oval Eggplant


Most of the leaves I’m trying to grow I’ve grown before, so I’m hoping this little experiment will give me a confidence boost, plus some motivation to really do this WELL so I can move on to other more exciting vegetables. Of course, I’m doing this as we get into autumn and winter so who knows. But the sprouts in my first tray of leaves make me hopeful.

10 thoughts on “A New Approach to Gardening

  1. Emily

    Looks really good, particularly love the posh aubergines! I like your selection of leaves. I am now using a veg trug that the landlords left on the patio, and have sprinkled a cheap-o pack of mixed salad leaves from Poundland that seem to be doing the cut-and-come-again thing pretty well, but I’m hoping I can reserve a few romaine leaves to grow big so I get some actual lettuces in a while. And parsley that’s coming along very s-l-o-w-l-y. Basil in a pot indoors. I also planted some Bigga marrowfat peas for pea shoots, and those we didn’t get around to eating I left in the box because the slugs seem to prefer them.

    1. Monica Post author

      Thanks, Emily! I’d love to grow big ol’ whopper lettuces. My problem is the space! But I think I’m gonna go for it with the endive – even if I only get 2 or 3 out of the deal. The parsley is a big risk – I have NEVER had luck with herbs. Even the mint outside which they say should grow like a leaf is looking sparse. How’s your basil coming? That’s a total wish list herb of mine. But again, no success as of yet!

  2. Carol Ford

    Wow Monica, I just love this blog, but particularly the ‘Brazilian Oval Orange’ Egg plant, I’ve never ever #freshproduce seen one before!

    Thanks ever so much for sharing this, best wishes Carol πŸ™‚

  3. Kavey

    We’ve got little gem growing great guns at the moment. One of my favourites, as you know, so a good one to grow.
    Have a few different pak choi seeds too but none growing at moment.

    1. Monica Post author

      Ah little gems are one of my favourites too. (Still thinking about that grilled little gem we did!). Was never a big fan of pak choi, though, but it seems to wind up everywhere.

  4. Jes

    I think I should have followed your lead on this one – I’ve definitely had more than my share of crop failures this year! Those eggplants are doing amazing, though (love the yellow color). Looking forward to seeing how the greens turn out!

    1. Monica Post author

      I dunno, Jes, I’ve seen your pics – for all your failures you’ve had a LOT of success. πŸ˜‰ Still envying your raised beds… there’s so much to be said for LOTS of soil.

  5. VP

    A sensible approach and good choices πŸ™‚ Good luck and I look forward to seeing how you get on πŸ™‚

    I’ve linked to this (and your smoothie one) in my Salad Days round up for this month – hope that’s OK


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