The Vegetable Garden
In late June 2014 we tore up an area of rotten decking and demolished a rickety shed in our London garden. The deck occupied the sunniest spot in the garden, furthest away from the tall shadow of the Victorian school in which we live. It’s the only space where we could ever hope to grow herbs and vegetables, which are generally sun loving creatures, like ourselves.
In place of the original features we built a raised border, about 1m wide and 75cm deep, with broad seating on two sides, affording about eight square metres of growing space. The void was filled with some 240 sacks of sterilised, graded topsoil and 60 sacks of Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost. Quite a task, and one which took four long nights trudging in and out through our flat.
Ideally we’d have given the rich mix of loam, composted wool and well-rotted bracken a chance to settle, but it was already July and there was no time to dally. Seeds of lettuce, rocket, radish, spring onions, mustard leaves, climbing French beans and wallflowers were all duly planted.
The only way with other vegetables, and in reality we needed only a few to feed the two of us, was to start with plants from the garden centre. Within a few days courgettes, three varieties of tomato, peppers, sweetcorn, alpine strawberries, parsley, tarragon and chives took hold of their futures, helped along by gentle rain. There was even room for a clutch of cosmos to provide flowers for indoors. I was quickly hooked, a hopeless cause, with visions of a colossal autumn harvest.