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As some of you may remember, last spring/summer saw my very first foray into growing vegetables.  I had very humble results, and learned more from my mistakes than my successes, the principle lesson being in never underestimating the destructive power of slugs (those little dudes have got evil appetites for anything growing). 

This year I’ve been aiming to expand my repertoire a little.  So far we have 3 potato planters at various stages of sprouting; a blueberry bush planted last year looking promising for our first crop later this year; strawberry plants in a container currently flowering away; another container beginning to show the first seedlings of rocket; some overwintering onions getting up to speed if they can survive the attention of wood pigeons; beetroot seed planted but still thinking about germination; chives, mint, parsley, oregano, sage all getting going in the herb corner of the garden; various kinds of salad leaves and lettuces recently planted hopefully in an old stone sink… and in the house, courgette plants and seeds, tomato seedlings, pea shoots, basil, rosemary (bit dubious about this, managed to grow miniature mushrooms last year when I tried to cultivate rosemary but hey, can’t hurt to try and figure out where I’m going wrong).  I’ve tried not to plant anything we are unlikely to either eat/use or share, and also have plans once the weather is a bit more consistently frost -free to plant carrots, spring onions, perhaps a few brassicas, maybe sweetcorn. 

It’s exciting and ridiculously rewarding to watch tiny shoots emerge from the soil, stretching towards the sun and often seeming to grow so fast you can practically hear the squeak of stems.  I have discovered I like to get my fingers muddy (although the inadvertent touching of a slug or other unappealing beastie does induce a tendency to retch – I was never a big fan of mini-beasts, even as a child), and find it satisfying to work earth towards a fine tilth.  Actually this last one is more of a dream than a reality.  Unnurtured, our garden’s soil is a heavy clay pan, so dense I could probably spend my time better setting up a kiln and fashioning rustic pots out of the clay.  Thank goodness for the wonders of compost, raised beds and container gardening.

Anyway, all this is by way of a heads up.  Coming soon, no doubt, will be lots of rants about the pestilences inflicting themselves on my veggies, pleas for anti-slug measures and eventually some self-satisfied pictures of my first harvests of the year.  I’m so excited!

Inspired by Knitta, on Sunday I made this:

We then went on a ‘secret mission’ with our daughter to find a space to leave it.  After a couple of preferred locations fell through (we’d noticed a gorilla’s face had been stencilled onto a lamp post near our friends’ home and thought we could give him a scarf but when we went the stencil had been removed) we chose a lamp post on a fairly quiet side street near the home of other friends, D & K from our church small group.  K is a fantastic knitter so the location was chosen in honour of her skills.  Unfortunately I don’t possess the same skills at all, but it was fun to do.  Suburban guerilla knitting?

D & K didn’t see the scarf though, so someone’s taken it and hopefully found a use for it.  Although since it’s July and quite warm, presumably that use hasn’t included actually wearing it.  Or it fell off the lamp post and is now lying all sad in a gutter somewhere…

I hope to do a few more of these types of things over the next wee while, so if you live in the Edinburgh area watch out and let me know if you see anything…

Another satisfying small-scale event was the harvest of our first few potatoes.  We took a photo of the first few I pulled out of the container when I went on an exploratory mission into it to see how the wee tatties were coming on:

 As you can see they are indeed wee tatties, but they tasted great.  I dug out the rest of that container’s crop tonight and made an amazing potato salad, using some of the chives, parsley and mint growing in our garden too.  It’s fair to say I’m not much of a gardener, but I’ve really been enjoying growing a few vegetables for the first time this year.  It feels very elemental to plant, nurture, harvest and eat.  I’m not going to espouse evangelically about the virtues of vegetable growing, mainly because I have not got a clue what I’m talking about.  But I’m so glad we’ve given it a go this year and I intend to keep at it.  It’s been good to learn something new, to get dirt under my fingernails and to have something to share with family and friends at the end.  That said, I hereby declare to the world my war on slugs (small groupers are already well acquainted with my views on slugs).  Is there a ‘nice’ way to stop them eating our vegetables though?

August 2017
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