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.
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 some 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.
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).
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.