23 Jul 2008

Sowing the seedling

My mother is a talented and professional gardener. Considering that I neglected to ever water and eventually kill my first plant – a spider plant which is apparently one of the most indestructible kind - I don’t think I inherited the green finger gene. As a child, being sent out into the pouring rain to dig the potatoes for dinner was perceived as punishment. Today though, I can imagine nothing more pleasant than to dig up and eat my own grown spuds.

I have actually been trying to nurture my green fingered gene since I acquired some of my own outdoor space. My first taste of growing my own was in pots dotted around my back yard. We had new potatoes in bins, cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets, and herbs galore – mint, chocolate mint, chives, bay, basil, oregano and thyme. All supplied by my Mother who grows everything from seed and as a result was drowning under the surplus, which she passed onto her apprentice. Me.

When we moved house, I refused to leave behind the pots of herbs and lavender behind. They now welcome visitors to the front door with their fragrance, since we are without a garden of our own. Actually, we do have an ‘unofficial’ garden that belongs to the property, but is not for our use, although we do use it, but don’t tell anyone. When my Mother saw the potential with this huge plot, we decided we would take the risk and create a little patch on which to grow some veg.

We spent the best part of a sunny spring day digging out the grass and weeds, turning the soil ready to plant a raft of herbs. Part of the plot was left to sow with potatoes, but with the garden a whole 42 steps down from my front door, an no access to water, this plan never materialised. Instead, I managed later into spring to plant French bean seedlings – grown from seed by mum alongside the red chard, rhubarb, fennel, chives, thyme, flat leaf and curly parsley, lemon thyme, marjoram and oregano.

With this summers weather so unsettled, and weekends away I have to admit the regular watering regime has fallen by the wayside. Taking the vegetable scraps down to the compost bin on the opposite side from the plot I took with me an offering of water to see what I could save.

It’s amazing what will grow even when utterly neglected – unlike spider plants I might add.

Healthy flowering French bean plants, tender stemmed red chard, plus chives, mint and oregano growing like mad and begging to be picked. Returning back up at the flat armed with bunches of herbs, fresh red chard I promptly added the freshly picked bounty to the supper I was in the middle of making and inspired to keep watering my little plot.

Who knows what else I might manage not to kill.

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