Sunday, 28 February 2016

Reluctant Gardener

It's February. I'm sitting in my cosy front room and feeling nostalgic about getting out into the garden. 

A small Robin watching us from the cherry tree while we plant peas and beans. 

I would definitely describe myself as a reluctant gardener. I am not an outdoorsy type, but after a day in the garden, doing whatever it is I've had to do, I come into the house, sunburnt and needing a pee, and I'm in the bathroom thinking to myself “Yes! I could be at one with nature, I could live in a tree and off the land” then I pass my bedroom and see my lovely possessions and my thinking instantly changes to “I WANT STUFF”. 

I used to watch Geoff Hamilton on Gardener's World when I was little, although I never planted a seed he always inspired me to *want* to garden (which is more than anyone else had ever done!), but it was on TV at night, and by the morning the want to garden had long since passed. I was devastated when he died in 1996, I was 15, and paid no interest to gardens until 2009. Keeping supermarket Basil and Oregano alive for over a year (plus the thought of scary chemical companies owning our seed supply) inspired me to actually plant something! Tomatoes, from Real Seeds in Wales. They are organic, mostly traditional breeds, nonGM/GMO, non hybrids (which means crops will grow from seeds you've saved yourself, and you won’t need to buy more, like we've been doing for thousands of years), and everything I've had from them has been wonderful.  

Eating your own grown Tomatoes (well, anything home grown) is a joyous thing. I can’t eat shop tomatoes now, it’s disgusting but all I can taste from shop tomatoes is sweat, God alone knows what’s been put into them for that to happen!
I've already tried Purple Ukraine (Not the prettiest tomato in the world, but I’d wager the tastiest!), Red Zebra, Green Zebra, Galina Yellow Cherry (which is a beautiful glassy bright yellow!), White cherry (a lovely creamy white colour) and Orange Banana.

 Purple Ukraine tomato. 

This year I'm trying another type from RealSeeds, along with some other tasty, non sweaty tasting, shop plum ones that I saved the seed from using RS’s instructions.

I've also grown my own gherkins, which 3 years ago I pickled with super cute tiny Cucamelons (the only year I've had any success (about 20) with them). 2 years ago was a bit of a disaster for my gherkins,. I planted a few types of cukes and gherkins, I got a lot of leaves and yellow flowers, but only 1 and a half grew to a size I could pick.

I've become more confident with “harvesting” the unsavoury, shrivelled up and rotten veggies, with the hopes (I can't claim it's knowledge) the plant will produce more, when I first started I would hang onto the poor shrivelled thing hoping it’ll get bigger, and probably bollocksed the plant’s chances of fruiting, I reminded myself of Peter Griffin when he kept feeding the obviously dead goldfish!

7 years ago I wouldn't go near dirt, now I'm a bit of a garden ho!