Back in March, like many across the country, we decided that growing our own fruit and veg was now vital in response to the apparent growing issue of empty supermarket shelves.
Whilst people fought over the last bag of pasta and 'squirrelled' away toilet roll, we were trawling through seed suppliers online searching for elusive seed potatoes and vegetable seeds for anything other than obscure veg in fetching shades of purple and orange (excluding carrots) which seemed to be the only thing left in stock!
Expecting that we would have a bumper harvest within weeks was slightly misguided. In reality, our garden was overgrow with not a dug-over allotment bed in sight!
We could not be faulted for our effort though. In the intervening months, we re-commissioned the torn and dilapidated small poly-tunnel we had inherited with the house, gleefully sowed sourced seeds into re-used pots (having uncovered the pot shed from brambles and nettles) and rapidly used the few bags of compost we had picked up before close-down. Seeds arrived through the post including the elusive seed potatoes. Our son, home from Uni, began practising his 'mattock' techniques learnt from an archaeology dig in Lebanon the previous year and my other half picked up a spade to start to re-open very old veg beds last used 8 years ago.70+ leeks, 3 unruly tomato plants, 90+ sprout plants, strawberries, corn, onions, garlic, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, runner and french beans grew fast and added to a heightened sense of panic to get veg beds ready a quickly as possible. Bind-weed became our nemesis along with the millions of nettles we had allowed to grow everywhere but....
Roll forward 3 months!
We would have starved if we had relied on our theoretical bumper harvest we had expected in weeks! However, the delights of looking on to a semi-tidy area now dug, picking never-ending harvests of french and runner beans and finding James sneaking the odd sweet cherry tomato as self-payment for watering, has definitely made it all worthwhile!
We have reconnected with the garden and experienced the joy of watching seeds magically appear through the soil and grow strong and healthy despite being in novice hands. To eat our one and only strawberry to-date split between the three of us and watch with eager anticipation and slight nervousness the volume of beans we have started to pick has been hugely rewarding.
Yes, it has been hard work and now requires constant watering and weeding. Yes - our allotment looks pathetic when compared to others on Instagram and Facebook where no bare patch of soil can be seen for well grown and healthy veg and fruit but we do not mind! The healthy anticipation of toddling down the garden in search of our next small trug pickings makes it all worth it; ... even though we will probably be eating sprouts until Christmas 2026, have realised that we really should have sown the carrot seed before now and have lost all the peas to a marauding Muntjac deer!
Have a good month all!
Suzanne (August 2020)
(Footnote: Please forgive grammar and spelling issues - I am not a writer but plan to share the trials and tribulations of Cottage living and our monthly musings in my own words, however poorly expressed)