As we move beyond the shortest day my thoughts begin to turn to the new growing season and what it may bring. Last year had it's ups and downs, the beans thrived and we have enough in store to see us through the winter and on into spring but the roots, brassicae and squashes did next to nothing and for the first year since we began growing our own we had no pumpkins, winter squashes or greens to get us through the dark. The shock of buying both butternut squash and brussels sprouts for our celebrations emphasised just how much our plot usually saves us.Thanks to our wonderful little dehydrator we managed to save enough onions, leeks and garlic to continue creating stews, soups and pasta sauces until the new year harvests come in - left to their own devices the combined perils of leaf miner and rot would have confined them to the compost heap long before December. The tomatoes succumbed to the dreaded blight - great for the Garden Organic trial we were conducting not so good for the freezer stores. The potatoes were harvested before blight got them but they are starting to sprout now so will need to be used up soon.
So what to grow this year? Planning is half the fun of growing - the anticipation of that first broad bean risotto or pea snacked straight from the pod not to mention the delight of that first bunch of home grown flowers to brighten the house. Seed stores need to be sorted, varieties need to be chosen, new-to-us crops decided upon (last year we tried out wheat for the first time) and spaces cleared. Which brings me to the blog - a late starter but the aim is to record what we grow, how much we harvest and what we do with it, mostly for our own interest but maybe for others too.