We moved into our neglected little steading 16 years ago. Before we even started work on the house we built some raised beds and fixed up an old wooden greenhouse we had been given.
We had very little experience of growing vegetables but read the seed packets, books and took advice of friends. Over the years we got better at it and as our two young boys grew and needed less attention we had more time.
Growing vegetables does take time but it’s a healthy hobby that brings the family together, even if the boys did treat my cloches like climbing frames. I wouldn’t say they ‘love’ their veg (they are now towering teenagers) but they have grown up knowing the difference between a courgette and a marrow! And they have had a go at eating most things, I just don’t tell them about the grated beetroot in their favourite chocolate fudge cake.
We always enter the local village show with our biggest potato, vegetable monster or rudest carrot and over the years we have accumulated a wall of rosettes and had lots of fun racing around on the morning of the show to find that elusive whopper of a tattie.
There has been many mistakes and disasters but each year is a fresh start determined to do better, trying new varieties and sticking to old trusted favourites.
Our freezers fill over the Summer and Autumn with homemade pesto, tomato sauces and bags of blanched sweetcorn until the first frosts come leaving just the tough Brussel sprouts and Parsnips standing, then its quick tidy around the garden feeding our chickens with left over wilted lettuces and overgrown cucumbers.
We over winter some broccoli, herbs and cauliflowers in the poly tunnel to keep things going, but our winters are so severe living on the side of the Cheviot Hills that the garden has a well earned rest and so do we.
Whilst we plan and scheme for a bigger and better crop next year!