Vegetables No More


One of my very few successes.

Anyone who has followed this blog in its various incarnations over the years will know that I'm quite a keen gardener, albeit not so keen that my garden could ever be described as 'manicured'. It's a nice old cottage garden, with lots of wildlife. I don't use sprays and pesticides, I tend to let things grow more than they should, and there's plenty of cover for the forty or so sparrows, among many other birds, beasts and insects that call this place their home.

This year, inspired partly by friends proudly displaying all their sumptuous home grown produce on Facebook, and partly by the likelihood of Brexit related food shortages (I'll say the bloody B word, even if the wretched BBC won't) we thought we would grow some veg this year. 

It hasn't been what you would call an unqualified success.

Crunch time came at the weekend, when we dug up two potato pots and harvested what looked like a pretty good crop of nice pink potatoes. Reader, I cleaned them and cooked them. What emerged was a large pan containing a small amount of wallpaper paste, in which were floating a few pieces of tough skin. I cried out of pure rage and frustration. 

There are times, plenty of them these days, when I wish I was Deborah Meaden. Quite apart from the fact that she always comes across as such a lovely lady, I remember her saying that she 'never cooks'. I too would love to be somebody who never cooks. A little light baking would be nice but that's all. 

Back to the veg. The garden is organised to make it easier to look after. We're neither of us getting any younger, or any richer, we're still working more or less full time and Alan's severe mobility problems make it all a challenge. So I thought I'd try growing vegetables, salad stuff etc in containers. We had plenty of good rich compost from the compost heap at the bottom of the garden.

It started off pretty well: tatties, spinach, chard, runner beans, courgettes, dill, salad leaves and, indoors, chilis and aubergines. The young spinach and salad leaves (especially something called senape) were very nice for about three weeks. The dill was good too and it's still growing out there. I've been using it all summer on the excellent Ayrshire tatties bought in one of our local farm shops, about a hundred yards along the road from there they grow them. We have mint and thyme and chives too. I'm actually quite good with herbs. 

I'm not so good with vegetables.

I've had three courgettes of which one was so small that it hardly counted. Lots of flowers, no courgettes. The beans got eaten, but not by me. The field mice got to a lot of the young plants in the cold frame, before ever they could be planted out. The chard bolted before it really looked like chard. The compost turned out to have a lot of weed seeds in it, so I've lost count of the number of nettle stings I've had from pulling out young nettles while trying to get at the spinach and salad. And if anyone tells you young nettle leaves don't sting, they're havering. As you can see from the picture, I have more chilis than any human being would use, or want to freeze, so I'll give many of them away. I also have two, count them, two tiny aubergines. 

Do not ask about tomatoes. We used to try to grow tomatoes until a couple of years ago when a nunber of lovingly tended, fed and watered plants yielded two tiny tomatoes. 

As a consolation prize, the old apple tree at the bottom of the garden is having a very good year, so there will be lots of apples, and a few apple pies and crumbles if I can bring myself to make them. 

As for the potatoes: well  after I had drained the pan, fished out the bits of skin and added a large quantity of butter to the miniscule amount of tasteless paste that remained, Alan said it was OK. I ate a few oven chips instead. 

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Two tiny aubergines


Rosie said… miniature cherry tree had two cherries. The blackcurrant bush in a pot had one blackcurrant. The jasmin had no flowers and the miniature apple tree grew no apples. The mint died after three weeks. The chives sprouted and died within a week. The nasturtiums don't like being at almost four thousand feet above sea level but I did have some lovely roses a few months ago.
Commiserations! I know so many people who grow all these amazing vegetables. This cheered me up no end. My flowers are nice though.
gz said…
We have done ok with the fruit and veg, now the fourth year we have been gardening here. But like you, the first year here was awful, despite all our previous gardening experience.
Last year we lost all our brassicas to caterpillars, this year they are in a mesh covered frame and we are keeping an eagle eye out for any creeping interlopers!
Our tomatoes are not as expected..but then they, amongst many other things, were delayed by this spring's weather.
Every year we learn what suits here every year something fails and something shines!