From the Vegetable Patch – January.



T I M E   F O R   N  E W   B E G I N N I N G S .

The beds are finished and filled. Finally! It’s taken us a full month to complete, in scraps of time stolen whilst Ottilie naps and between our work and the household chores and trips out as a family.

The first lorryload of compost was delivered five days before Christmas, and carrying it all round to the vegetable patch round the back of our house one wheelbarrow load at a time was the most arduous task imaginable! During one of the days I spent trudging back and forth fetching soil and tipping it out into the beds, I managed to walk 7 whole kilometres without ever leaving our garden!!

There’s still such a lot to do though, it’s a little overwhelming! Our soil is heavy clay and seems to be slug central (heaven help me and my lettuces this summer!) so I need to copper tape the edges of the beds, the perimeter fence needs rabbit-proofing, and I’m also desperate to lay some pathways to suppress the nettles that are already popping up all over the place!

And possibly more urgently, I need to find a way humane of deterring the moles that have started creating mounds in one of the beds I so painstakingly filled and raked smooth. No doubt they’ve been tempted along by all the worms in the layer of sheep manure that’s spread along the bottom of the bed!

p.s. Anyone want links for my outfit in that photo above? ;) ;)

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But first things first, time to sow the first seeds of the year! My ‘to sow’ list for January has been as follows:

+ Garlic ‘Carcassone Wight’

The garlic went directly into the bed in a double row at the beginning of the month, and almost all the shoots are now up and poking their tiny green tips through the soil! It’s a happy sight.

+ Leeks, ‘Musselburgh’

These I’m hoping to sow successionally over the coming months, to give us a long harvest of leeks starting later in the year and continuing through next winter. I’m also going to test out a technique called ‘multi-sowing’, where a clump of young plants is placed into one position (instead of the traditional one plant per position) and then the leeks can be picked and eaten as they mature one by one. An unclear explanation I’m sure- have a look at Charles Dowding’s videos on YouTube for a much better demonstration of the technique!

+ Mini Savoy cabbage, ‘Caserta’

This will be my first time attempting cabbage (last year I didn’t have space for any winter veg in the tiny garden of our previous house), so I’m a bit nervous about keeping the dreaded cabbage white butterflies away from my crop! I’ve invested in a large sheet of Enviromesh (pricey, but brilliant by all accounts!) and plan on planting the cabbages next to carrots (which will also need netting against carrot root fly), to kill two birds with one stone! Or rather, deter two pests with one big net…

+ Spinach, ‘Red Kitten’

The sowing instructions on these say outdoors from February, but I thought I’d pop a few in a seed tray and try to raise some nice strong, healthy baby plants in the greenhouse to be planted out in a month’s time! If it doesn’t work or they get nipped by frost, then hey! I’ve only lost a handful of seeds.

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And lastly, to the broad beans!

I sowed a tray of broad beans (the variety is ‘Aquadulce’ in a modular seed tray back at the start of the month, but have since learnt that our dining room and kitchen definitely don’t get enough sunlight to raise healthy plants! The seedlings have grown so stupidly tall and leggy that some have keeled right over, so it’s off to the compost bin for them and onto a new batch!

This next lot I’ve sown direct into the bed next to the garlic, and am keeping my fingers crossed that they grow well! I’ve heard that mice like to make a meal of broad bean seeds, so it’ll be just my luck to find out that alongside the slugs, snails, moles, and rabbits, we’ve also got mice to contend with too!

If the broad beans do well though they’ll be one of our earliest crops of the year, with the beans ready in late spring. They’re so delicious added to risottos, pasta sauces, and whizzed up into falafel and hummus, so I’m desperate for them to do well!


And that’s our progress for the month! I’m so, so ready to start eating homegrown food again. The crisp lettuces and tender beans and shiny courgettes of last summer feel like a distant memory already.

So here’s to Spring!

~ ~ ~

What’re you growing this month? Are you hoping to grow any fruits or vegetables this year?

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  • Amy Elizabeth

    This is so impressive, Rosie! What an amazing amount of work you’ve done, and it’ll be so rewarding when it all starts to bear fruit (or in this case, vegetables). We’re hoping to get our garden done later this year – as it’s currently mostly a concrete slab – and I want to put in a few little vegetable patches to try and grow something (although it won’t be nearly on this scale!) so I’ll be following along with your gardening adventures with interest!

  • ninegrandstudent

    You’ve done an amazing amount of work and I can’t wait to see the results! I’d love to grow my own veg but right now it’s difficult – for one we have no outside space, and when you get home at gone 7pm and spend most weekends studying there just isn’t the time. It’s my goal once I’m no longer studying though!


  • Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic

    That looks like a lot of fun :)

  • April

    Oh my, the work you’ve done is so impressive! I tried to sow garlic however the lack of sunlight in our kitchen didn’t do anything good, so I’m planning to give our little urban garden another go next month, or in March when the chances of frost are considerably lower, haha!

  • Peta

    Oh how exciting Rosie! Good luck with the Red Kitten Spinach I hope it doesn’t get caught out by the frost! I’ve currently got spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and peas on the go here. It’s a little warmer in Barcelona, so I’m crossing my fingers for no frost, however it isn’t unheard of towards the end of January/ beginning of December!

    Peta x

  • Kayleigh

    This all sounds so exciting! I really got into gardening last year and I’m definitely going to be growing lots of flowers and have a go at growing a few fruits and vegetables! The work you’ve done on your vegetable patch is looking wonderful! Looking forward to reading some more of your posts :)

    Kayleigh |

  • LOVE J

    Wow, I have to learn how to do this, xoxo

  • Elizabeth Rebecca

    It all looks so neat and pretty Rosie!

  • mamasblooms

    Love this blogpost so much, gardening or more rather growing my own brings me so much happiness. Last season I went crazy with tomatoes and ended up with around 20kg along with corguettes, cucumbers, peas and beans. At the moment I have rainbow chard, loose leaf salad, cavalo Nero and radishes that are all ready to eat, I’ve also got some sweetpeas going well from dried seed from last Julys crop, spinach, peas and lettuce comping along in the greenhouse. Ive been buying from Sarah raven online as I love the quirky varieties she stocks – the catalogue is super inspiring too xx

  • Kelsey Douglas Short

    Oh I need to get on with this soon! We are starting small as we have no garden so looking to do containers. Must start!


  • Flic

    This is so impressive! I just about manage to keep herbs alive…

    Also, can we just talk about how gorgeously teeny you are?! In my head you’re around my height (I met you at a Boden event AGES ago with Kat) but in the photo above you look pocketsized! I mean this as a compliment I promise, I always feel like a giraffe as almost all my friends are roughly 5ft4″ and below…!

    F x

  • woodenwindowsills

    I cannot wait to do this all myself too! We’ve currently got no beds, and its was all a bit overwhelming this year so it will probably more likely happen next. Luckily we have multiple people in the village who grow the most amazing produce and sell it for tuppence in stalls outside their houses! Bliss! Alice xxx

  • Caleigh86

    Oooooh, you’re making me so excited for spring! We have to wait until May to start planting here in Manitoba but I just celebrated Imbolc yesterday and am gearing up for Spring now! Cheers to longer days!

  • Lizzie Woodman

    You’re living the Good Life, Rosie. It suits you!

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