In days gone by our farmhouse vegetable patch was brimming with rows of veggies. It was my husband’s Grandad’s domain and he was very proud of it. Every year he would enter his veggies into the village show and if he didn’t have any fine specimens then it has been said that he would nip down to the local shop and buy a couple of onions to show, but this is only hearsay!
When I moved to the farm, my intention was to restore the vegetable garden to it’s former glory however the last few years have seen me fighting a losing battle against the long standing enemy of the gardener, the weed. The weeds grew rapidly in this part of the garden despite digging, digging and more digging!
So this year the boxing gloves (I mean gardening gloves) were well and truely on and I entered the garden or should that be boxing ring, with renewed vigour and the will to win over this area of land and reclaim the soil back from the champion weeds! I again attacked the garden with a stint of digging but after many hours of back breaking work with little results to show for it, I decided to bring in the big boys, ie the farm machinery.
My husband used the farm digger to dig over the veg plot and root up the offending weeds leaving the weed free soil underneath.
Once the soil was clear we then had to use the power harrow to level the soil. I don’t think my husband has ever had to power harrow such a small area of land before. The tractor and implement only just managed to manoeuvre into the space.
When the land had been cleared and levelled by the farming equipment, I was able to plant the many seedlings that had germinated in my greenhouse. I planted row upon row of vegetables and was very proud of the neat and well organised vegetable plot. Finally farmer’swife (with a little bit of help) had defeated the weeds. Courgettes, butternut squash, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, onions and broccolli were all happily growing in the weed free vegetable garden, that is until that fateful night in June when we received a phone call at 2am to say that flood water was heading our way. By daylight, my thriving vegetable patch was awash with flood water and the plants remained submerged in the water for nearly a week.
After the water subsided, most of the plants perished. The only success of the flooded vegetable garden was the two courgette plants that survived and have provided us with many tasty courgettes that have been turned into lemony courgette salad, mince stuffed courgettes, courgette soup and most unusually, courgette cake! A victory for the courgette. I think thats flood water 1, courgette plants 2!
Following the flood, I became a little despondent and couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm to regrow the veggies I had lost. So as the vegetable garden began to feel neglected, the weeds began to creep back. It’s amazing how quickly they can grow and the recently farmed vegetable garden once again became a jungle of weeds. This is the situation today but do not despair my next plan of attack is raised beds, so I’ll let you know who wins round 2!