I’ve always loved the idea of being self sufficient; relying completely on growing my own fruit and veggies. Unfortunately my garden isn’t big enough to host all the plants I’d love to grow so I’m making do and utilising the space I have in the best way I can. As you might have seen, I’ve grown my own tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, runner beans, sweetcorn and peppers. It’s really satisfying going food shopping and walking past all of these items that you would normally pick up, knowing you have them at home and they taste 100x fresher and better.
I’ve always loved the idea of a huge herb garden too, where you can just pick a handful of ingredients and run back to the kitchen to cook up weird and wonderful recipes. I started out with just Basil and Rosemary, and now have Mint, Chives, Lemon Balm, Basil and Coriander. They’re only small pots, but it’s definitely a start. And I definitely have no clue what to do with the lemon balm, but I love rubbing my hands over the leaves when I walk past!
As well as herbs I’d love a mini fruit tree orchard. My dad and his partner have several apple and pear trees in their one and a half acres of land and it’s brilliant. They have made dozens of apple pies and even tried their hands at homemade cider! I would love to have the opportunity to do something like that, but would need to think of a good name/brand to go with it – feel free to drop in any suggestions!
So I’ve spent the past 11 months thinking about how I can utilise the space I have to grow as many fruit and veggies as possible. And also tried a few unusual plants I’ve never come across before. There’s two that I particularly wanted to share with you…
Lets start with fruit. I love raspberries and could eat a punnet of them a day! I heard about a new variety at Thompson and Morgan, Ruby Beauty, which can be easily grown in containers rather than cane form in the ground. So I jumped at the chance and now have two.
They need large containers to fully establish, and they don’t need supports at all, so I can almost leave them to their own devices apart from watering and feeding regularly…
…or so I thought. They have grown so much within the year (after over wintering) but I unfortunately have been quite naïve when it comes to pests, and one plant in particular has really suffered the wrath of snails/slugs. I now have some copper tape around the rim of each container and gone to town with some slug pellets too. I’m hoping they’ll recover and pick up in the spring and start to produce the first batch of fruit next year. I’ll be spying some raspberry recipes in the meantime to share next year.
My veggie plot has improved so much in a year. Clearing the area didn’t take long and the soil is pretty decent, so it was just a case of deciding what to plant in there. Next year I’m going to try the tomatoes in grow bags on the patio area next to this patch, to make more room for other vegetables that benefit from growing straight in the soil.
This is how the patch looks now, my tomatoes all ripening a few at a time, the courgettes and runner beans producing the last few, and the cucumbers still going strong.
So fruit and vegetables are quite standard, and I was interested in other edible items in my garden. I’ve seen many foodies adding pansy and voila petals to cupcakes and treats, and they look amazing. I wanted to see what possibilities I could explore in my own garden, and kitchen. My most recent addition is a Fuchsia called FuchsiaBerry. I don’t really like Fuchsias but when I heard the berries taste like a mixture between a kiwi and a fig, I couldn’t resist.
They flower a beautiful purple and pink colour and the berries develop quite quickly too. I’ve got 5 of them in my border and 1 more ready to go in a container, just to see the difference.
They arrived as small plug plants, so I potted them into these small pots before they were ready to go in my border. A few months later they are in their final positions and some are flowering amazingly. Some are late to the party, and still establishing themselves in my border, so I’ll wait until I have enough berries to give a decent review, and obviously try out a new recipe; I’ve always fancied making my own jam (I watch enough Great British Bake Off to attempt it)!
I’ll see what other edible gems I can find to add to my little garden in the next year and let you know! What edible plants do you grow?