When I first started this blog, it was about two things: Dickie, my little blue Subaru, and gardening. I was never much into gardening when I was young – always much more interested in reading and writing and that sort of thing. But when we moved to the farm, I decided I wanted to try my hand at vegetable growing. So my dad made me a pair of raised beds out of old railway sleepers and got me a little greenhouse that every time a storm struck, all the glass blew out of. True to my bookworm roots I bought loads of books on veg growing and started out. The first year was quite successful, the second year somewhat so, and then the third year I had moved into my house and my weekends seemed to get filled up doing other things. Mum kept the beds going, but I hadn’t manured either of them since the beginning and our land is sandy, hungry land that doesn’t do much on its own.
It’s my last week at work. I finish on Friday, with the intention of spending the next three weeks focusing on finishing my nightmare of a dissertation, before I start my PGCE in September. When I’m meant to read the books I should be teaching I don’t know!
I thought it would be nice, since I’ve been regaling my colleagues with tales of my gardening adventure, to bring in a selection of my own homegrown produce for people to pick out what they want. Ready for harvesting are a variety of things: courgettes, runners, onions, spinach, mangetout, beetroot, Cos lettuce, rainbow and rhubarb chard, and, very recently, carrots and potatoes!
I’ve picked a selection of the above and will try to prep them in the morning, if I get up in time – something which is increasingly becoming more and more difficult as time wears on. I think I’m running out of steam, which I am panicking about as I don’t have much time to breathe before I get thrown into what’s probably going to be the hardest thing I will ever do!
So when things are getting really tough and I start to feel a bit down or snowed under, I like to take a bit of time out to go and look at all my wonderful things that are growing in my beds and dotted around the “manor grounds”. I’m so pleased I had this opportunity to do something like this! When I was at university I used to bake lots of cakes to try and destress, which gives you an immediate sort of buzz, but then it wanes after a while. Because growing vegetables, particularly from seed, is such a gradual process, it extends the feeling of working and producing something quite remarkable. And it is remarkable! As cheesy as that sounds, to plant a tiny seed in some compost or some soil, and then a couple of weeks later to find a little green shoot poking its nose up is one thing. But to actually nurture that one thing into flourishing and then into getting fruit is just a crazy thing! I’ve never thought of myself as much of a ‘nurturer’ – as an only child I’m fairly impatient, and used to finding numerous ways to entertain myself, so that when my attention wanes, which is rather often, it’s normally caught up by the next shiny thing – and so I did approach this whole gardening-vegetable-growing venture hesitantly, thinking I’d never get things to shoot, let alone fruit!
This past week I have been rewarded with two of my trickier crops. I’ve had my fair share of problems: the cauliflower/turnip disaster for one. But I have been quietly concerned about my carrots and my potatoes. I drowned half of my potatoes early on, when the idea of drilling holes into the bottom of my bins never crossed my mind. Two buckets remained; they’re not really buckets, as such: one is a big blue bin, and the other is a potato grow-sack thing. I hacked away at the green tops when they had flowered and were starting to bend. I then left them for two weeks, not really purposefully, but because I’m a busy lady, and have had a lot on my plate of late. Then this afternoon – or rather, this evening, Mamma and I decided to dig them up! For a while nothing much happened… I was pulling out potatoes the size of grapes, which was sad. But then I found a good sized one, who happily sat in my fist! We emptied out the whole bin and I got a plant pot full of potatoes – some new-pot sized, and some a good bit bigger! I’m so dead pleased. I also have started pulling up a few carrots. The soil is quite stony and I have been worried that they might distort – however I’ve pulled a dozen or so, and they are straight as can be! I had a couple with my lunch today, and they are lovely and sweet, so I’m a very happy bunny!
So here is tonight’s harvest! It was dark when I took this photo in the outside light, hence the interesting shadows. I picked a bunch of carrots, a couple of beetroots, a mix of chard and lettuce leaves, some kale (which I forgot to mention in my list of things ready) plus some mangetout, which you can’t really see. But check out my potatoes! Oh I’m ever so pleased I can actually grow things.
Look at those potatoes! Aren’t they beauts?
I’m just so pleased with how things are turning out. It’s been pretty tough these past few weeks, juggling work and my uni work, and I maybe haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to play in my garden. But the results I’m getting at the moment are making me feel so much better! If I just keep organised and on top of things, then maybe everything will be OK. But I’ve learnt that I can grow carrots and potatoes!
And that was a very lengthy post!