I don't know which time of year I like most in the veggie garden. Is it the spring when the poly tunnel is full of seedlings and promise, or the autumn when I am filling the trug with the last of the beans, the beetroot, and the plum tomatoes and propping the squash up on flower pots to ripen.
When I was a little girl my grandfather used to take me to his allotment for the afternoon and while I cut dahlias the size of cauliflower heads for grandma, he would boil the kettle and doze in the battered leather armchair. I've loved gardening ever since but it has taken over 50 years for me to have the walled vegetable garden of my childhood dreams and to watch my own daughter cultivate her first allotment and send me her "plant" orders.
The vegetable garden at Knapp House is a work in progress but finally I have designated, edged beds, a sensible sized fruit cage and a very productive poly tunnel. This coming year I intend to get the second-hand greenhouse re-constructed and my hideaway garden building which may or may not have an old Rayburn. This depends on whether my neighbour sells it or gives up and has it man handled by the local farmer with his tractor around the corner and into my garden.
Himself is perplexed about the Rayburn because a wood burner is surely adequate? But I am tempting him today sitting on the veranda of a lovely little escape in Hay-on-Wye with the notion of a boiling kettle and toasted cheese sandwiches whilst enjoying the vista across the swiss chard and Raspberry canes.
Gardening of any kind at 770 feet in the line of the worst the south-west weather gods can throw at us is a challenge so I have had to accept that many things will only grow inside and some not at all. But my daughter's first year of allotment growing further east has been a revelation and I have a plan. Next season she will grow the things outside that I have repeatedly struggle with such as sweetcorn and I will grow the things indoors she has had trouble with such as tomatoes. We will also meet in the middle and share her bumper crop of chillis and red onions.
So back to the 20 courgettes and counting. As if on demand the Saturday Telegraph weekend section had recipes for a lunch box including a courgette and date loaf - absolutely delicious and great not only for lunch but for the winter freezer. So you can never have too many courgettes and they do at least grow at moorland height.