“But frost, like the crystallized dreams of autumn, began to coat the clearing with its sugar glaze.” ―
May can be a tricky month, here in Suffolk, for growing. Back in London, April was the month in which frost might make an unexpected guest appearance and damage anything that had been planted but here, on the Suffolk coast, the season is a little later and so we still run the risk of a hard frost in May. Don’t put your winter clothes away just yet!
I was fooled, this year, by a very beautiful and sunny start to May and so I went ahead and planted up my little veggie patch with tomatoes, beans, a courgette, herbs and fruit shrubs. The much anticipated beans simply did not grow and my two tomato plants were so badly damaged by an unexpectedly late frost, that I had to take them out. Thankfully, our dear friends Helen and Kim donated a couple of their loved and nurtured tomato plants and a courgette. They are very kind.
Not one to be beaten by the weather, one of the things I did, as a result of the frost, was to fill a couple of plant pots with compost and grow a new round of beans and of tomatoes. They are still growing and they are full of promise but, I cautiously note, they are still rather small, at this stage. In fact, I didn’t expect this new batch of beans to grow at all and so we cheated and bought some slightly more advanced plants. In addition, another friend called Tina kindly donated three tomato plants to us. So, now we have lots of plants that need to go into the ground and not enough space in my veg patch.
I’m not one for sticking to convention. I have a couple of flowers growing in the veg patch. I like to see some bright and cheerful flowers wherever possible. I also have strawberry plants in our flower bed; which I use for ground cover, as they do well at keeping unwanted weeds at bay. So, the extra veg/fruit plants we have can go into the flower beds as well.
My first task was to weed the veg patch again, It’s only a small veggie patch; about 5ft x 3ft. That said, people are often surprised at just how much produce comes out of this evidently little space. Take note, if you have a small garden and you feel you would not be able to grow much. You really will be surprised at how much delicious fruit and veg can be grown in a compact area.
The plan for the veg patch is this:
I had company, while I was tending to the veg patch. One of our dogs, Oscar, took an interest and stayed with me.
Our other dog, Digby, remained at the other end of the garden, laying in the shade. Oscar is, by far, the more inquisitive of the two. Do you have any pets who take an interest as you go about your gardening work? You’ll see, to the right of this photo, that I use a knee rest. The knee rest can be turned over to become a stool, too. It’s a really handy little gadget and cost about £8. I recommend this as, due to having Parkinson’s, I really would not be able to do anything in the garden without it. It’s sturdy, too, so enables me to lean onto it to stand myself up.
The planting is now completed and, unless we have a very, very late frost in June then everything should now continue to grow. The plants do need to be watered each day. Already, gooseberries are starting to come through. We will use these in either a jam or chutney recipe, to be stored in a jar ready for use over winter. The blackcurrants will be added to cooking apple and baked in pies and crumbles and the raspberries will simply be enjoyed with cream or ice cream.
I mentioned the strawberries, earlier. Well, we don’t tend to get to eat those. A certain little four legged culprit, called Digby, loves to pinch the strawberries from the flower bed the minute they start to ripen. We let him. It’s his little treat. Oscar has never enjoyed them. I used to grow strawberries in London, for they would always be ready to eat at the start of Wimbledon tennis season. I love watching tennis and so this became a nice way to enjoy home grown produce, as part of an event. The late Suffolk season, however, usually means that home grown strawberries are not ready until a week or two after the tennis has finished.
I will post updates, as the veg patch develops.
Are you growing fruit/veg at home or in an allotment? How are you getting on? Please feel free to share your own veg patch updates, below.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.