How does your garden grow? Winter progress… or not.

I suck at growing beetroot. And carrots don’t like to be planted in December. These are the things that I learnt from my veggie patch this Winter. In fact, I failed at growing potatoes too so I think we can all agree that I should stick to summer crops and leave the hardy veg growing to the Farm Shop down the road.spring garden veggit patch-3

In truth, I’m a fair-weather gardener. I planted those seeds in a barely dug-over patch in deepest darkest winter and left them to it. Those carrot seeds tried to fight their way through frosty ground to no avail, and only a handful of beetroot braved the elements to sprout their leafy plumage. I kind of just expected them to grow by themselves and provide me with an abundance of winter produce, much like the bumper veggie crop of last summer.

Then…    …and now

You may remember that I created my first ever veggie patch in the garden last Spring and, having never grown anything before, I was surprised and thrilled to find out that tomatoes grow in their hundreds and that courgettes just keep coming. I barely looked after my veggie patch, just giving the plants a sprinkling of water on particularly warm days, yet in spite of the neglect my bean stalks, rambling squashes, cucumber plants and tomato bushes rewarded me with a freezer-full of fresh produce and a feeling that I might be rather good at this.

Fast-forward to today, when my failed winter crops have left me with spade-in-hand wondering what went wrong. Then I remember that it’s been too cold and dark for me to want to go outside at all for the last three months. It turns out that continued neglect isn’t the best gardening method. As a result of digging over the potatoes to find, erm, nothing, I’ve made a conscious decision to really put some effort in this year. Who knows how much veg I’ll harvest if I just give it a fighting chance? So here are the vegetables that I’ll be tackling first this year and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with patch progress throughout the year.winter garden veggie patch-2spring garden veggit patchOther developments for the garden include a new eating area and some kind of barbeque grill. My husband likes the idea of building a pizza oven but seeing as we are quickly running out of room in our small garden, I’m hoping he’ll change his plans when he sees the fire pit I’ve got my eye on instead. I think that a big fire pit with a grill insert would work well for alfresco cooking, as well as keeping my guests warm after the sun goes down. fire pit

My ultimate fire pit – image from Be Garden Happy

In terms of planting, I’d love to add some pretty blooms around my caravan this year to help it blend into the surrounding garden and I’m thinking that a buddleia (the only other plant that has survived in the garden) would be a good investment. Not only will it (hopefully) not die, but it’ll attract butterflies so I’ll end up with hundreds of them fluttering around right outside my caravan window while I work. What a lovely distraction that would be!cassiefairy - my little vintage caravanHave you got a veggie patch in your own garden and do you have any secrets or tips for growing success that you can share with me? I’d love to hear your suggestions so please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy to chat gardens.

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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