One of my grand New Year’s Resolutions (note to self: do not write when tipsy and full of ridiculous ambition…) was to create a chic kitchen garden outside the backdoor, which bloomed verdantly by day and bountifully produced all of the fruit and veg we could hope to consume. Come dusk, it would gently scent the terrace and be something our friends would stroll through, glass in hand, exclaiming on its beauty and the magnificence of its produce. It would of course necessitate buying a host of attractive hand-made gardening tools and a divine leather half-apron, and of course a beautifully shaped trug to collect the peas, carrots and herbs which would be needed for dinner each evening. Oh, and a petite Kew Gardens watering can for ad-hoc sprinkling. And some of those lovely wooden vegetable markers that no serious gardener would cast a second look at…. …Well, as you can see I had not got much further than the retail opportunity offered by this resolution, and certainly had not contemplated the actual hands-on aspect of it all.
A couple of weeks ago I raided the library bookshelves in order to create at least some semblance of a planting plan and a little amateur knowledge. The Dorling Kindersley guide for children did the trick (I have no pride or shame in this regard), and so I learned that I should be urgently, urgently chitting my potatoes in order to get a head start come Spring. A few more minutes of research translated this rather alarming instruction into the simple task of setting out some seed potatoes in an eggbox somewhere cold but bright. Given that the entire house is very cold and generally bright, the perfect spot was not hard to find. (The books do make a sweeping assumption that the inside of every house is free from frost – I challenge them to over-winter here before being so confident in future). This milestone in the launch of my new kitchen garden enterprise took about 45 seconds, and I duly forgot about them
Lo and behold! Two weeks on and blow me if the blighters haven’t begun sprouting and jostling in their cups, as if hell-bent on making a final bid for freedom before the soil beckons. If it is possible to feel pride at so basic an achievement, then pride it is. Hoorah.