Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Project Garden

I thought I’d break from blogging about the tea party for a while and show you some of our garden. Now, JJ and I have never gardened before so our knowledge and ability were pretty much as low as humanly possible. So the fact that we’ve managed to grow anything is an absolute miracle! So you can imagine how proud we are of our little babies. Just look at them!! Aren’t they beautiful?

To be totally honest, I’ve found gardening a tad depressing. It sounded so easy! Just like cooking – follow a recipe and not a whole lot can go wrong. Sure, sometimes things don’t quite go to plan, but the end result is always edible. And it’s not like we entered into the enterprise without doing our research. We read the books, we researched which vegetables would be most likely to grow and which of those we would actually want to eat. After clearing the garden (with a LOT of help from my Dad! Such a great daddy) and tending carefully to the tiny seedlings, the first of the major blows came in the form of a slug infestation. I swear those things can abseil! There was not one plant within a reasonable radius and still, within 1 night of them being planted out, they were comprehensively munched. To the ground! Humph.

After some hurried re-planting and adding a few more pots, plus a generous covering of slug pellets (organic gardening can wait until we’ve cracked the regular version) we were confident. Then came a pest that decided it would dig up and eat all the seedlings. Not slugs this time, something much larger – thinking either a fox or rat. London rats are about the same size as small foxes anyway; sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart.

So the construction of the nets began. We toiled away, carefully protecting all the precious seedlings with layers of nets suspended over canes. Not quite the beautiful English rustic garden I had envisaged, but I figured after they’d got going a bit, things would be more resilient to being dug up. And it worked! Things grew! The first things that looked good were the radishes. That was until they were pulled up, only to reveal that they hadn’t actually produced a radish. We’d very successfully grown copious amounts of radish leaves, but not even a hint of peppery, crisp, pink radishy goodness. Given they were supposed to be super easy to grow, our spirits were slightly dampened.

But the sweet peas are a success! And oh how I love sweet peas. Such a heavenly scent and so frilly! They remind me so much of my childhood. My parents always grow great panels of sweet peas under their pergola. Whenever I go home in the summer, my favourite thing to do is to stroll under the pergola, breathing in that heady, perfumed air, only magnified by the bed of roses alongside. I can’t wait to take some pics to show you when we go home in August! Until then, we shall have to keep our fingers super crossed that the tomatoes ripen and the courgettes get a jiffy on with growing!


  1. Hi Rosy,

    So good to see your blog! It looks very exciting. And don't feel sad about things not working first time round - it happens to everyone!
    Your radishes might have come up blind because you didn't thin them enough - if they don't have enough room to thicken their roots, they just give up and put all their energy into their leaves. But your courgettes look great! Good work.

    Oh, and if you're having a nightmare with slugs, I've written a little piece on them:



  2. Hi Isabel,

    Thank you so much for the advise! I think I might be having the same problem with the carrots as well... Oh well. I might try another batch now that the weather's warmer.


  3. Hi Rosy,

    Carrots definitely require more patience! I've sown and eaten three lots of radish since putting my carrot seed in and the carrots still haven't started swelling (note to self: if I keep pulling them up to check they're going to go the way of your radish).

    Your tomatoes and courgettes look very happy, and it sounds like you've got a pretty good hit rate overall - and lovely sweet peas. (Mine were dismal - planted too late, and only one flower on each plant).

    I've decided it's harder to garden in the city - less easy for nature to find a balance of predators. In the absence of a local frog to eat my snails, I'm now officially at war with them. I gave peaceful coexistence a go for a bit, but now they've turned me into a killer. I'm currently going for torchlight salting. Cartainly gets the neighbours' curtains twitching.

    Will the courgette make it into a cake?