So that’s Christmas and new year done – next stop Easter (and yes, the chocolate eggs are already there in the supermarket aisles). But just for a minute, let’s pretend that it really is January. Let’s make some plans for this year’s garden – a wish list of seeds to buy, some new vegetables and herbs to grow, recipes to cook with home grown produce…
My current favourite gardening book is James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution. And I’m really grateful to Elaine for recommending this book – thanks! After reading through it a first time, I ended up with a long list of plants to try growing. This list has been edited down – largely based on what would be realistic in a Yorkshire garden, and the time, space and money available. I’m definitely going to try cucamelons (worth growing for the name alone), Inca berries and have another go with tomatillos. Up until now, I thought that amaranthus flowers were a nice addition to a bunch of homegrown cut flowers, never realising that the leaves were edible too. There are so many other plants that sound interesting, the list may well grow again… I’m a sucker for new projects.
There will be more chillies this year too, one of the few crops that grew well last year. I’ll be sticking with the old favourites like Hungarian Yellow Wax, Etna and Padron, and already have some new varieties in mind – this list is going to need some editing too.
Over the years I’ve worked out which vegetables are worth growing, both because they produce a decent harvest, and they are things the whole family will eat. Growing lots of salad leaves, especially lettuces, spinach and rocket, saves buying bags of leaves from the supermarket. French beans, tomatoes and carrots (especially the sweet, small ones that taste best freshly pulled from the garden ) will never be wasted. Only half the family likes beetroot, but being as I’m in that half we’ll be growing some this year.
Herbs are my favourite edibles to grow at home – this year there will be lots of basil for pesto, coriander for salsa, and plenty of dill, parsley and chervil too. They will all be growing alongside the perennial herbs – thyme, sage, rosemary, mint and tarragon. These plants will no doubt be divided or used for taking cuttings, just to make sure there is plenty of garden fresh flavour for the kitchen.
And, then there will be lots of flowers – to provide lots of nectar for the bees and butterflies. I’ve just discovered the Higgledy Garden shop for flower seeds (turns out Twitter does have its uses!). I’ve ordered a collection of seeds – nigella, sunflowers and scabious are all included. Let’s hope this year’s weather will be better for all the pollinating insects that are so important for gardeners and farmers.
Have you written any new year gardening lists? Anything completely new that you’ll be growing this year? And if you’re reading this in the southern hemisphere – how are you’re ‘new’ plants for this season doing? Do you have any recommendations for our new gardening year?