Monday, 21 March 2011

Belleau Kitchen becomes Belleau Garden... year 2

I've just planted a whole bunch of salad vegetables in the garden...

...I planted a lot last year but I didn't really have a huge amount of continued success and I think I need to take it all a little more seriously this time. Which is why i've started early and will continue to crop and re-sow regularly throughout the year...

...i've started with some fab looking purple carrots, beetroot, radish and mixed salad leaves... i'm not going to bother with tomatoes because last years lot, which I lovingly took care of yealded 1 small tomato from 6 plants and i can't go through that kind of pain and suffering again.

I will, if The Viking allows me, plant some bigger, heartier veg later on in April and May as the season warms up a bit... I'm not sure if I should secretly plant them in amongst the flowers or beg him to give me a patch of land... i'll let you know how it works out.

... any planting tips, or recommended veg would be most welcome.


  1. Hi Dom, my favorite compost is seafood compost, it is amazing! Check out your local garden center. You just have to make sure your soil is rich. You may need to amend the seafood compost with some peat and garden soil, if you do that you'll have veggies . . . even tomatoes! Good luck. I'll let FBMKW know you had some problems with her post. Oh, did you try to access it through the link on my post by any chance?

  2. wow... never heard of seafood compost, i'll have to check it out.

    I've tried again, still no luck!

  3. I am so jealous!!! My little balcony is currently home to a planter tub with 8 strawberry plants in it, another few pots with various bulbs and a thyme plant which is thriving but a mint plant that died off with the winter snow ... I know, I must be the first person in history who has managed to kill mint off!!! Indoors we have about 6 pots of chilli seeds I'm waiting to sprout and some basil which has just started to shoot ... 2 tubs of cherry toms to go!! Hubby is less than pleased ... but if I had a garden ....
    Can't wait to see how it all goes!

  4. Hmmm, difficult to know without being able to assess your climatic conditions (that makes me sound clever, doesn't it), but I'd warn against aubergines and capsicums unless Lincolnshire has a freak heatwave - they are nothing but heartbreak for the novice gardener...

  5. If you like butternut squash I can recommend growing them. You won't be able to hide them in the flowers though. Broad beans are easy as are peas. Start indoors and plant out later or mice might snaffle the seed. I've got hold of some localish chilli seed this year, it was developed in Halesworth, so fingers crossed for those. I'd say concentrate on growing stuff that is expensive in the shops. SO your Chinese greens, salad leaves and herbs.

  6. Zucchini aka courgettes, are easy and prolific to grow. The plant gets large (about 3 ft diameter!) and produces a LOT of veggies. Butternut and spaghetti squash are also good choices. Enjoy the garden, I'm excited about mine this year, too.

  7. Thanks for the ideas

    @ Chele. Can't believe you killed mint! Ours grows like wildfire here. Herbs are great kitchen plants so that's always a bonus for a chef!

    @so you're a climatologist now huh? I think I'd need to poly tunnel the whole garden to grow aubergine!

    @princess. I like the idea of beans and peas. Thanks.

    @ Kitchen Witch. I did try coiffures last year but with limited success. Maybe I need to find a more hardy variety.

  8. Hi Dom - what on earth did you do to your tomatoes last year that went so wrong!!! I can totally recommend cut and come again lettuce, beetroot, swiss chard and yellow courgettes and strawbs. My first year I tried to grow everything but then realised the trick was to work out what I really wanted to eat and what was really worth the effort! good luck x

  9. Oh, sweet man! Thank you for the carrot soup link! I felt like such a dope not finding it! Oh well... I have it in mind to cook your chicken thighs with roasted fennel, too! That, I can find!

    As for your garden, I am jealous that you are able to plant ... we have just been able to crack the ground and dig out parsnips that should be sweet as sugar candy!

    It will be a long time before we put anything else into the ground!

  10. Goodness, you are keen and way ahead of us - now feeling like we'd better get a move on or miss the boat. Beans - so worth it as so hard to buy good green beans. Rock dust is the thing if you can get hold of it. Seaweed also good, but only if you live near the sea. Wheedling ways may work well too.

  11. some great tips here. Just planted my first herbs and got some tomato seedlings waiting to sprout - nervous now! Might check out this seaweed compost malarkey. Keep us posted on your growing progress Dom x

  12. I'm envious of your skillz. I tried planting veg a couple of years ago and well, frankly I got really bored and ended up with nothing but cherry tomatoes. Bloody amazing cherry tomatoes, mind.

    I'm sticking with my herb window boxes for now.

  13. Wow. So brilliant to get so many tips. Thank you all. I will keep you updated as and when there's something to show. I think beans for sure now but sticking clear of toms. Xx

  14. hey dom...i haven't been by in way too long...happy to stop by today...

    lots of cooking going on here and planting too...before the HUGE rainstorms hit anyway....

    loved seeing this today
    looking forward to some great gardening this year

    hope this letter finds you well, my friend

    kary and teddy

  15. I absolutely agree with Andrea on growing courgettes - last season I had them steamed, grilled, braised, fried, roasted and, possibly best of all, baked into cakes. But can I plead the case for the humble turnip? I grew the French variety Navet de Croissy last year. It was ready for harvest in 2 - 3 months and tasted great when braised with mustard. And later in the year, don't forget to plant some pak choi.

  16. We've constructed some raised veg beds to grow salad leaves,every other attempt has been decimated by the hundreds of rabbits which come into the garden.
    I'm looking forward to hearing more about the Watermill,how exciting:)

  17. @MFK - it's been a while for me too so hello!

    @ Phil - ok, i could go for some turnips, I have a wonderful turnip and watercress soup recipe that is divine!

    @NS... mine are all raised beds except for the one's that aren't (that's helpful isn't it?) - if you have a spare £500K to hand I could do with it to help purchase the watermill!

  18. Down here in London last year we had loads of tomatoes (admittedly in a sunny south-facing garden), several different types of cabbage and green leaves, peas, beans (broad and french) and spuds. BTW I would recommend growing (or placing pots of) basil by the tomatoes. They mutually protect each other from pests and grow more vigorously. For some reason the tomatoes taste more tomatoey . . . persevere!!!

  19. @ Marmaduke Scarlet... I will try again with the toms... but fewer plants I think... and maybe start them off inside... I also forgot to mention that I have last years strawbs and gooseberries too!

  20. Try growing courgettes; very easy. Just don't plant them out until any danger of frost has gone. I had three plants last year and they easily kept 4 of us in courgettes.

    You should be allowing The Viking an odd patch for flowers and not vice-versa. Veggies much more useful than flowers!

    Have fun gardening.

  21. We do not have a lot of gardening space in the yard. I'm so excited though because my husband said he will construct a salad table for me. Good luck with your vegetable garden. Let us know how it progresses.

  22. I feel I owe you several visits - your regular comments haven't gone unnoticed but my entire family have had rather a poorly 3 weeks one after another hence my absence.

    I admire folk who garden... my neighbour is a successful gardening writer and my best friend has gone all green fingered since he bought his own place 18 months ago... alas I am PANTS with PLANTS and just about manage to drag up a few tomatoes now and again. I'm a terribly neglectful parent though and don't even water stuff properly.

    So if you want gardening advice... you've come to the wrong place with me. But I like sitting in them.

  23. Thanks Sarah. Its hard work this blogging lark, especially when life gets in the way. One free evening is what we all need to catch up on some much needed blog replies! Thanks for the non advice re gardening too!!

    @VBB. I think courgettes ate the way to go. I've been told you need to plant 4 plants as they ate either male or female and need to do their thing!!

    @FBMKW. Wow. You're own salad table. Fab stuff! All you need is that little corner!


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