Wednesday 27 October 2010

Record Breaking Root Vegetables?

Up until yesterday when the rain came and then today when the cold virus pretty much pinned us down to the sofa for the day, we were ploughing forwards with huge success in the garden. In fact, earlier in the week I was feeling really proud and perhaps a little bit smug with our efforts.

Garden Dad finished clearing out the greenhouse. The very last cucumber was harvested and all the dead tomato and cucumber plants were cut down and throw into the green bin. Pots and grow bags were emptied and stacked neatly. The shelves were replaced on the greenhouse staging and re-levelled ready for planting in spring (yes we are that organised!). Garden Dad even swept the greenhouse floor while Garden Girl put all the outdoor toys neatly on shelves or in the corner of the greenhouse. Bamboo stakes were pulled out of the ground and tied together neatly for storage and empty raised beds were dug over leaving fluffy, weed free soil.

The remains of our potatoes were harvested (well, there are three remaining plants - the rain did not quite hold off long enough, but its almost there) and the best thing is that very few seem to be damaged. All three of our Little Garden Helpers assisted with this task. While the eldest two got stuck in with their spades, eagerly rummaging for potatoes to see who could find them first, Garden Lass, wrapped up in warm woollies and layers of blankets, bounced in her chair excitedly and with a huge grin to keep everyone else motivated.

Meanwhile I spent a more peaceful weekend taking cuttings from the herb bed. I took English and French lavender cuttings, rosemary cutting and root cuttings from two types of mint. (I will tell you how we did this in my next post.) Every now and then Garden Girl wandered over to check I was OK on my own and stayed to help out with snipping cuttings and removing lower leaves. She was also quite eager to help me cut back all the herbs. She was worried at first about the lavender but I explained that cutting it back would mean it would grow back bigger and healthier next year. 'Just like our hair? she asked. 'Yes, just like that.' 'Well then, I am going to pretend the lavender has a face just like us and it is smiling because it will have healthy hair.' And with that she eagerly cut away the faded lavender flowers.

Having cut back and tidied the entire herb bed I then set about the task of removing all the weeds from the bed, at which point Garden Girl decided it was time to return to Garden Dad with the offer of her help. Smart girl! There is one small corner left to weed, again thanks to the rain arriving 15 minutes too soon but I'm still pleased with our achievements.

And buoyed by our weekend success we headed outdoors for a couple of hours on Monday to continue the work. It was a lovely sunny day and I would have liked to have been out there longer but Garden Boy had already been coughing badly, with a runny nose and Garden Lass was starting to show signs of feeling ill so I decided to keep it short, while Garden Lass was asleep and with everyone wrapped up warm. We harvested all our carrots, leeks and beetroot and then headed indoors for a hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Although the children were thrilled with every vegetable they pulled out of the ground, making grand announcements with every one they produced, sadly there will be no carrot soup or hearty winter stews with our harvest. Nor will we be making the delicious beetroot cake we made last year. We would however be in with a chance of breaking the world record for the worlds smallest example of said vegetables. The photo here displays the largest carrot, beetroot and leek we found!

We have decided that we will no longer use this particular part of the garden to grow vegetables. We think the large trees behind the garden are stealing all the water so we are going to put our apple trees here instead and maybe get some pear or plum trees too. At least while I am indoors with cold ridden children I can flick through seed catalogues for fruit tree varieties!


  1. Not sure about English climatic specifics, but in Australia there is lots written about vegetables for shady areas (Googlable! I am at work so shouldn't write much!!)

    Not meaning to be contentious, but would be very interested in your thoughts on whether the fruit trees you mention do better than vegetables if it's a poor growing spot thanks to the competing trees? We have a few similar spots and I am at a loss as to what to put there.
    Look forward to hearing about the cuttings- hope the invalids bounce back quickly!

  2. aahh those vegetables are perfect for fairies, lovely :-)

  3. Cute little harvests. Next time, it will be much better...