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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Vegetable garden summer 2022

Meanwhile back at the ranch (as the saying goes) the kitchen garden is coming up trumps this year. This year I have been fascinated with colour and form in my herbaceous borders, looking at plant combinations and delighting in the sheer frivolity of growing plants that are only there to enchant. The focus in my blog has been on them, but behind the scenes I have also been quietly working away in the kitchen garden all summer. Although I make time to really enjoy the decorative gardens, the mainstay of my gardening is still focused on the productive garden and growing edibles. To me there is a special kind of joy in growing my own food, and now that I know more or less how to do it I don't feel a need to think about so much. I finally feel comfortable enough in my endeavours to replicate the process year after year without worries about the result.

This year I have gone mad about broad beans of the variety Threefold White. My family loves broad beans and we gorge on them fresh in salads or with a drizzle of olive oil, some crushed garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Most years we have eaten them all and left none for the freezer, so this year I'm making a conscious effort to grow enough so we can enjoy them in winter too.

Just before the June heatwave hit I planted multicoloured mixes of carrots and beetroots with the onions in blocks between the rows of the root vegetable, and while the carrots are slower in the process the beetroots are growing well and maturing surprisingly early. As well as the mixed colours assortment from Runåbergs Fröer, I'm trying out two different varieties of beetroots this year: Egyptische platronde which is a "normal" red variety and Chioggia which is a stripy polka beetroot. I'm interested to see the difference in taste, growth and size of these, but as yet they are so small that comparison is not possible.

This year I'm also growing Celeriac, which to my delight seem to be doing great. Celeriac likes a moist and rich soil, so during the warm weeks I made sure to water them profusely. Both the bulbous root and the leaves and stems are edible, and while the roots are great in a mixed tray of oven-baked root vegetables the leaves and stems can be dried and used for spice in savoury dishes all winter long.

I'm also trying out Edamame beans (pictured above) for the first time. They require a lot of warmth and a long season, so I'm quite uncertain of the outcome, but so far they look promising. They were a bit tricky to germinate, and only about half of the planted seeds came up. For once I was happy to have gone overboard with seedlings!

Other things I'm growing this year are potato Purple Queen, climbing beans Carminta and Blauhilde, Klevedon Wonder peas and Neckarperle cauliflower, palm kale and curly kale, some un-named variety of zucchini and a pumpkin my neighbour kindly gave me. As with the decorative garden, the theme of colour and form is on my mind so I have planted the ends with thick swathes of blue tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) at the ends of each vegetable bed and also let annuals and wildflowers spread into the plot. It delights me to see the bees enjoying the companion planting as much as I do!

I tend to harvest the vegetables in the late afternoon, just in time to make dinner. It does of course take a longer time to prepare everything from scratch than to buy ready washed produce, but I think that is part of the charm. There is nothing as nice as slowly going about ones business, making food with love and care instead of just dumping something semi-edible on a plate. It is not just the taste that is far superior, it is the quality of life too when we take time to do things we enjoy. With this I wish you all a wonderful week!

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