LOCKDOWN has had its benefits. I am gradually starting to unpack some of the boxes that I filled several years ago when we planned to move out of the farmhouse. But didn’t.

What has surprised me is that I don't seem to have the space to put the stuff that clearly I had had space for. Could this be because when I found I had need of a particular piece of kitchen gadgetry, I went out and bought a replacement rather than search through the mysteries of the container? But gradually I have been bringing out boxes and bags, and then, trying to find somewhere to put it all. I have managed to give some to friends and family and to charity shops.

Luckily, I have been able to find a home for some findings in the cottage we converted for John’s mother. The cottage has been sparsely equipped for some years, but no longer. Anything you require for culinary purposes is now available in the cupboards.

Behind the cottage is a no man's land of oil and diesel tanks, feed troughs, fencing and anything else that no-one is sure where to dump until it is needed again. Things have changed here too. Two raised vegetable beds, freshly-filled with leaf mould and compost now take up much of the space.

So what to plant? John does not eat any vegetables apart from potatoes, and I am not sacrificing either one of my beds solely for that crop even though he would not object if I did. It is not an auspicious time to be sowing seeds. I do love a brassica, but think I have missed the boat for sowing seeds now. Although I am going to do a spot of research at my local garden centre.

But John did sow fields of winter beans quite late in the year so I am going to have a go with broad beans. Possibly not under cloches as recommended in the gardening books, but utilising a homemade construct of polythene sheeting to give the beans a head start.

Also, and here I will definitely be earning John’s disapproval, I understand I can plant onions for a harvest next summer. John regards this vegetable as food of the devil and he may well be digging them all up unless I keep a close eye on my plots.

Luckily the beds are very sheltered and the crops will be grown in a microclimate that is hopefully almost frost-free. And whatever is grown and harvested, there is no shortage of pans to cook it in.