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Juicy red radishes

Category:Spark life
Posted by: Vicki on 07/06/2011

Where Bill is delighted by the first harvests from his back garden.
With all the hard work we’ve been doing in the garden – indeed, the work we are still doing – it was extremely rewarding last week to harvest our first veg: delicious, juicy red radishes.

Bill with radishes

Most plants in the garden are still quite young and very few have any signs of edible bits yet, so we were delighted to see nice fat bulbs rising above the soil in one of the bottom beds.

Radishes growing in Bill's garden

We’ve had them sliced in salads and added to vegetable soup. It’s probably like children in that your own are the best, but they really were the best radishes I’ve ever tasted.

Carrots growing in Bill's garden

The veg we planted out from the seed trays that started out on our window sills are all doing well. We’ve even been lucky enough – so far – not to have suffered from slugs. It may be that the garden was grass for ages and the slugs just didn’t lay their eggs in the soil, but whatever the reason, we’re happy not doing midnight torch duty on the lettuces, spinach and chard.

Fruit bushes in Bill's garden

We’ve also taken advantage of the edge of the garden to plant fruit. New additions to the hedges last month to join the elderflowers, loganberry bush, apple tree and plum tree were a few raspberry plants and a couple of blueberry bushes. Our green gage bush and pear did not survive replanting, sadly. At Stroud Farmers’ Market last weekend I also got a couple of strawberry plants and they will go in the top of the garden, hopefully to take over the top of the sloping part which used to be creepers and ivy.

Shallots growing in Bill's garden

To keep our cats off the young plants – and to keep off other local wildlife, like badgers and deer – we’ve staked in fruit nets on bamboo poles over the beds. The system is working so far, but it can be awkward as anything from shoes to garden tools can easily get snagged on the nets, but the frustration will be worth it if we protect the plants.

Bean frame in Bill's garden

Our neighbour gave us a good ticking off for using bamboo as it is unsustainable. We had bought secondhand canes, but she is right as most bamboo is imported from China. Instead she took us coppicing round the local woods and now we’ve got a conscience-free hazel-branch framework for our beans. Meanwhile our peas are climbing up a recycled windbreak.

Young shoots in Bill's garden

So we are still hopeful for a good harvest if the weather stays good. One major concern is water as we have not yet bought a water butt – mainly because we don’t have much space for one, but we are looking at setting something up at the top of the garden to harvest water from both the garden huts.


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