The Back Border:
Please not steal my work. If you wish (for some reason) to use any pictures found herin , please ask permission.
Last night I revealed part one of the garden concept plans. Today, being considerably more conscious then I was last night after a day of hard graft on the oven, I want to talk you through the thought process behind this bed a little more, plant by plant.
- Sweet Cicely: A sweet, slightly anise flavoured perennial herb which enhances sweet dishes such as apple crumble. This herb grows well in shady places, and this corner of the bed will receive considerable shade from the pizza oven. A perfect place for it.
- Ramsons: Another shade loving perennial, also known as wild garlic. It will lend garlickiness to pizzas, pasta dishes, and a yummy recipe I found for ramson pot stickers that I’m dying to try!
- Chop Suey Greens: An annual, edible, chrysanthemum! Apparently great in stir frys and less bitter of grown in shade over summer. These will be planted around the Ramsons, which hibernate during the summer months. I plan on using them to liven up my stir fry and oriental broth soup repertoire; with some luck, if I let some flower, they may self seed, but I’ve never grown or tasted these before, so I’ll have to wait to find out!
- Jeruselam Artichokes: Edible tubers with an umami flavour, and flowers that look like mini sunflowers. I’m hoping this will add structure and colour to the garden, drawing in benificial insects, and providing a sofisticated autumnal veg. Another one I have as yet to try. Woohoo!
- Malabar Spinach: This one is a bit of a gamble; also known as Indian Spinach, it prefers considerably more tropical climates than North West UK. However some people seem to have managed to grow it in the south, so I’m going to give it a go too. (Please do comment if you’ve grown or tried this one!) Described as a climbing, vining, muciligious spinach which comes in both red and white stemmed varieties. A gamble that could well be delicious. I’m hoping this will wind through and up the Jerusem Artichokes (If it grows).
- Summer Purslane: In front of, and under the Malabar spinach, I’ll plant Summer Purslane, another annual that’s going in to provide a leafy green, high in omega 3, whilst I figure out what perennial ground cover I want in the spot. This will feature in salads, wilted into pasta dishes, and on pizza. Yum! I think I ate this in a salad in Turkey once… I could be wrong.
- Achocha: After the total fail that my Sweet Peppers were this year, I am crazy-excited to grow this climbing vine of the Incas, which allegedly tastes of green peppers when cooked. Helloooo pizza, stir fries and pickles. Woot woot! Never grown or eaten before.
- Rainbow Chard: Colourful leafy greens. These are usually grown as annuals, though I have read of some people getting them to pull through a few extra seasons. I’ll be interested to see how this oh-so sexy relative of spinach will do. In the kitchen I’m most excited to try the chard stalks pickled as per a recipe in A Year at Otter Farm. Used to grow these on my parents’ small holding.
- Potato Onion: An onion that propogates itself by division like a shallot, stores like a rock, and can be either autumn or spring planted. Need I go on? Skill Cult blog, formerly Turkey Song, is a fantastic resource for learning about these bad boys and how to grow them. This year the plan is just to successfully grow them and create enough ‘sets’ to grow on for a meeningful harvest the year after. This particular one will be planted in spring, and hopefully will act as a good companion for its neighbours. Never grown before.
- Daubentons Kale (Variegated): This one will certainly fit the ‘leafy greens’ part of the brief… Now I just have to get it past the slugs, caterpillars and pigeons. Bring on Ribolat and kale crisps.
- Runner Beans: These were mis-labeled due to tiredness last night as broad beans. Sorry! The runner bean variety I have is from the Czech Republic and will hopefully evade the slugs more successfully this coming year. The main purpose of these beans – an annual crop – is to fix nitrogen in the spot for the surrounding crops.
- Red Walking Onion: a self propagating onion with ‘the interest factor’. ‘Nuf said.