Fresh Veggies Day is on the 16th of June and emphasises the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
Liz Roffe is our Sales Office Manager and resident vegetable grower! We caught up with her to find out about her vegetable patch and asked for hints, tips and recipe inspiration in celebration of Fresh Veggies Day!
Where is your vegetable patch and how long have you had it for?
Our veggie patch is part of our garden and we have had it since moving in, so around nine years.
It’s nice having it as part of the garden as you can just pop out and get fresh veggies for tea each evening (you’ve got to have obligatory veggies for tea in our house!)
What vegetables do you grow and which is your favourite?
We grow a range of veggies including: carrots, parsnips, sweet corn, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, broad beans, leeks, spinach, potatoes, onions, beetroot, runner beans, French beans & broccoli. My favourite is freshly picked sweet corn, you can’t beat it!
(Liz’s sweet corn plants in the greenhouse before being planted)
(Liz’s sweet corn plants after being planted)
What is the easiest vegetable to grow, and which one takes the most effort?
I grow most of my plants from seeds in pots before planting them in the patch. Things like carrots, potatoes and parsnips are planted directly. The easiest things to grow are sweet corn and butternut squash as, once planted in the patch, they pretty much look after themselves. Carrots, beetroot and parsnips just need a bit of thinning out and covering but apart from that they are quite easy to look after too.
How much time goes in to maintaining the patch?
Once the veggies are planted it’s just a case of keeping the weeds down and watering them when it’s hot. Initially it can be a little time consuming but just doing the odd 15 minutes here and there is enough to keep on top of things.
What are the biggest challenges when growing your own veg?
Bugs and slugs! We do our best to use natural remedies and nets to keep them at bay.
What time of year do you reap the rewards of your efforts?
We try to have things in the garden all year round but there are some times at the beginning of the year when things are a little sparse. It’s normally from July/August onwards when we have an abundance of veggies.
How do you keep the soil rich and nutritious?
My husband David and I compost all of the leaves from the garden and use it on the veggie patch. We also add horse manure. Once a year, to help keep the soil light, we add recycled compost from a nursery, normally a tractor trailer load.
(David ploughing with his Anzani Iron Horse, a piece of horticultural machinery from 1945)
What advice would you give to somebody who was thinking about starting a vegetable patch?
Do it! Even if you don’t grow things from seeds you can get veggie plants ready to set out from garden centres. However small a patch, there is nothing better that having fresh veggies straight from the garden.
Do you have any special recipes you can share with us?
As we get quite a lot of butternut squash I make soup which is lovely.
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