My first season growing vegetables and flowers for a country pub.

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It started in November 2015 when I was asked to clear these planters and start the process of growing edible flowers for use in the pub kitchen. Herbaceous perennials were dug out and stored in pots and evergreen herbs, violas and primroses were planted to take us through the winter. I can’t take all the credit, I did the digging but the owners supplied the plants and installed mini obelisks with fairy lights in each one.

Fast forward to April 2016 and it’s still raining! The pub has a new sign (and name) and the plants have grown a little bit.

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Meanwhile round the back plans were afoot to create a vegetable garden to supply the pub with extra special, very local, produce. And it has really been a bit of a learning curve for all of us.

This is my first view of the site, previously a grassed area, and the beds going in. The path through the middle leads to a camping area and shepherds huts for hire so I chose varieties that looked good as much as what would be useful in the kitchen. Well that was the idea anyway.

Before the beds were even fenced, I planted some cavalo nero plants and believe it or not they are still going in November having been picked consistently throughout the summer. Definitely going to try that again!

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The beds were finished and rabbit fenced and all I had to do was fill them! Twelve beds in total although one is a permanent rhubarb patch.

I started with lots of pretty salads, beetroot, rainbow chard and rocket all protected by mesh from the pigeons. My favourite find was saltwort which really has a samphirey taste. The season progressed with potatoes being planted as well as  peas (total failure), beans, tomatoes and pumpkins (biggest success literally!)  and mixed courgettes.

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As I write this in November, there still chard ready to pick with purple sprouting broccoli and leeks to come. Next year, I plan to have  bigger batches of each crop and better successional seed sowing. I am also starting work on a foraging bed.

Meanwhile out the front, the violas, nasturtium, borage and calendula were all amazing and the herbs grown from seed are getting established.

We now find ourselves at full circle and I have just planted violas again for this year’s  winter colour. It turns out that there is a great variety of flowers which can be eaten  so watch this space for what I grow next year!

Also for another blog, what happened to the old perennials dug out of the planters as they were put to good use.