Our garden is small. There are two raised beds for flowers - behind them are two growing areas mainly for veg (with space for a water butt and compost bin). Then at the back is a large, brick-built shed that has a green roof. We're lucky that the Victorians who built our house in 1898 gave us a walled garden, which shields the plants from the wind and gives us a warm protected micro climate. With a small growing area I don’t want anything in there that doesn’t earn its keep.
Last year I grew peas over two arches against the left hand wall. The trouble was that eight pea plants just about give you enough ripe peas for one portion at a time. To get a decent amount of peas for two dinner plates needed more plants and we don’t have the space.
I had the same problem with strawberries – over the whole season we had a good few bowl-fulls. But, there were probably no more that 4 ripe strawberries to eat at any one time. I remember seeing one perfect, beautiful strawberry and thought I’ll have that later. But the local squirrel had obviously had the same thought and managed to beat me too it. I was starting to think they were not worth the bother.
Then there were the carrots. 2008 produced a great crop of carrots, which kept us going for several months. Come 2009 and three packets of seeds later only one measly carrot managed to germinate.
So, I made a decision. In 2010 I’m still going to grow tomatoes and courgettes, plus I have some strawberry plants left over (so they can stay). However, my main aim is to try and have something in flower every month that will keep the bees buzzing.
No more worrying about cabbage whites and carrot fly. It's pollen and nectar I'm looking for this year.