I wrote here about the moment in April when Harry and I caught Spring Fever and had an exuberant flurry of planting fruit and vegetables, before collapsing exhausted on the lawn with a stiff drink (of milk, naturally). We are complete amateurs, seduced by the adverts in the garden centre which promise abundant produce from phoenix-like plants which thrive on neglect and rise from the dead every time. Harry’s selection process involved choosing the brightest coloured packets which were reachable at knee-height, and that seemed as good a plan as any to me. It’s fair to say we put our feisty seedlings and their hardiness to the test, as did the British weather – the amount of floods and hailstorms we’ve had in recent weeks would suggest to the Biblically-minded that eternal damnation is quite possibly just around the corner.
Still, today we harvested our first crops and have held a small judging ceremony to score our efforts. We have been generally tough on ourselves but start with the stand-out winners, our beautiful, abundant sugar snap peas. Or perhaps I should just say peas; they grew way beyond sugar-snapping size and are now cheery fat pods bursting with perky peas. We’re very proud.
Our second crop was courgettes. Everyone warned me that courgettes grow in the blink of an eye and that gardeners the world over will roll their eyes and tell you of the glut they always experience, and their weariness of having to cook courgette 50 different ways to try to run down their stocks. It is thus with some embarassment that I confess we have managed to grow just one courgette. One, Uno, Solo. And that one is approximately the length of Harry’s finger, and only slightly wider. It is perfectly formed, but insufficient for a meal, unless perhaps Gwyneth Paltrow was coming for dinner. We give ourselves 6 out of 10.
Chantenay carrots were my secret favourite crop; I pictured rustling up a bowl of them for Sunday lunch en famille, where they would glint under a knob of melting butter and look radiant and perfectly formed, yet just earthy and organic enough for it to be clear they were not from a supermarket. Well, of all these goals we seem to have achieved only the latter; there aint no doubt that our carrots are not shop-bought….
Still, who needs to eat carrots when you can give them false eyes and name them individually? (this one above is The Lobster, by the way…). We may not be close to winning any beauty prizes for our efforts, but we’re having a lot of fun growing them…