Carrots

Yes Carrots. No that is not me swearing about something. Although ‘carrots’ might be a new swear word (curse word) in my life going forward. Hilariously funny, wonderfully petulant, satisfyingly perturbed – carrots now feature in my life as as one of those little stories that is worth hanging onto. Who would have known!

My vegetables didn’t do well at all last year. I did get some spinach and rocket and it was lovely. Most other things…meh. Probably due to me not being Monty Dom. Probably a little due to a weird late spring. Was I bothered? Not at all! It can be more expensive to grow veg, the shops had food in them and I didn’t go without. Was my neighbour, someone I thought was a fellow excited veg grower, bothered? It seems so.

Me when my veg actually grows
Him saying ‘well done’,…,not

I got a text from him. It was nice enough. He wanted to use my raised beds if I wasn’t going to. Of course I am going to. I like gardening. I should caveat that by saying I like some gardening. I am not a gardener but I like growing things. It is quite satisfying and fills me with joy when I skip out into the garden and cut some spinach off for my curry. Or some rocket for my salad. I skip back in and eat it in a more satisfied, I grew that way, than when I have bought a packet of spinach that lasts only one day.

So I politely declined his lovely offer of utilising my raised beds. This was clearly not the correct answer. What happened next is so shocking and so funny that I don’t quite know how to write it on paper. You may be shocked. You may be upset. You may laugh at me. You may laugh at him. Either or, or any of these, ways – here goes.

I got a lecture on using my raised beds to their full. They apparently shouldn’t be wasted in the current climate. Fine…but not really fine. Its two raised beds…not exactly contributing to a war effort here. Tesco’s is not far away. They have food. I can, however, take that one on the chin; roll with the punches. But I got KO’d for my carrots. Apparently I wasted the whole lot last year.

I did chuck them out. But here is the thing. Are carrots actually carrots if they haven’t grown into carrots? My carrots resembled little stumps rather than carrots. Here is another thing. If they are unceremoniously tossed on the compost heap are they wasted? My neighbour and myself seem to disagree on the definition of wasted. Oh well (I wrote that in a very sarcastic sounding voice).

The texts descended into an argument, the argument descended into what might be described as some akin to a feud. Over CARROTS! Yes, you are welcome! Mull it over for a while…come to your own conclusion on this one. All assessments of the situation are valid.

Unfortunately my work colleagues won’t ever let this one go. Having been witness to the whole thing by text and phone they have now taken on the view that I am a SHIT gardener and my CARROTS are rubbish. This has led to lots of laughing at work. Because it is true :-).

I had all my vegetable seeds ready for this year. Before the garden argument happened. I didn’t have carrots in that mix.

I do now.

Those carrots are getting planted today.

Growing my own vegetables: not the best year

I decided this year I wanted some pumpkins. Not really for eating…I am not a fan of pumpkin…well any pumpkin related food. I wouldn’t waste them; the neighbours cook odd stuff so I am sure they would have took them off my hands.

My reason for the pumpkins was so that we would have plenty for the annual Halloween party. Who doesn’t like a bit of fancy dress with carved pumpkins around and lots of 🍷!

This year, along with the pumpkins, I wanted some leaves and tomatoes. Maybe it’s been a funny gardening year or maybe I am just rubbish at this but the majority of things (with the exception of some lovely rocket) never turned out well at all.

It’s not like this was my first growing veg year. I have been doing some vegetables in a few raised beds for the last couple of years I have slowly figured out how much I actually need. Usually salad type leaves (rocket and spinach), some coriander, some spring onions and occasionally I have done potatoes and garlic. Sometimes it works. Sometimes they look like the image for this post. This year my veg looked nothing like it!

The pumpkin plant is like a bloody triffid. It sprawled in every direction and produced lovely big flowers with the promise of loads of pumpkins. Every single mini pumpkin beginning (or whatever you call them) has turned to mush. I don’t even know if they have been eaten or are just not making the grade of turning into adult like pumpkins.

The tomatoes (all five plants of them) have only produced two good and lovely red looking tomatoes. You guessed it…baby tomatoes. Why did this happen. They grew, they flowered, little tomatoes formed – but they never really ripened. Maybe it’s a Scottish thing, maybe it is just that kind of year or quite possibly maybe it is my rubbish gardening skills.

It all started off so well. Things did grow. Things didn’t grow up. At least I had some good rocket. At least I don’t put tomatoes in everything (my mum does this with meals…don’t even ask). At least there is a local Tesco to buy pumpkins for Halloween. Next year will surely be better! Or maybe I will grow some pretty flowers instead.

The ‘triffid’

(aka pumpkin failure)

Main Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash (obviously not my produce)

Growing my own vegetables

I started my own vegetable patch a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. After the first year of growing things for the excitement (yes really!), I have now got to the point of growing only the things I will definitely eat. Being a picky person with food, this means leaves (salad, rocket, spinach), some spring onions, radishes, carrots, tomatoes and some herbs. Add in a couple of pumpkins (hopefully) and I still have the big bang excitement.

For someone who is not green fingered, at all, I have help in the form of a few keen neighbours. Its a communal garden and all are welcome to do it…me and one neighbour built our own wee slice of veg growing garden. The other keen gardener focuses on his myriad of flowers. A few others just enjoy the wine we usually consume whilst looking productive.

The how to bit

Its pretty easy. I bought a low height thingy (I honestly don’t know what it is called but got it in the garden centre) It fitted well into the little strip I dug out. Its a great alternative to a greenhouse if you aren’t wanting to grow loads of tomatoes. If you do then start off with a cheap construction (see this greenhouse for something not too pricey). A bit plastic but does the job to get started. I would definitely go online for most things but it is worth going along to somewhere like Dobbies (https://www.dobbies.com) to get some garden inspiration. If you live in Edinburgh then I would also definitely recommend Houston House garden centre. It has everything!

I also built two raised beds. They won’t last forever but if you want to avoid spending what seems like extortionate prices then buy some tongue and groove wood and a length of post. Cut that into four (DIY stores will usually do this for you) and start nailing the wood together. Easy peasy. Fill it with that base thing and ta…ra your own raised bed waiting on loads of compost / manure / mud. Paint it first though so it lasts for a wee bit longer. I did mines black. We also painted the fence black. It is a surprising nice colour in the garden as everything else pops against its.

The start up means you won’t save on that packeted salad stuff from Tesco in the first year; but you will year on year.

The planting

Its Scotland and so generally cold. But the sun has been in the sky and the cosh thingy keeps things cosy so I did my planting today. This is the satisfying bit. Just pick your veg and go for it. I did potatoes too last year in a grow bag which was great. I just didn’t eat them all. What I can add to almost everything is rocket and spinach. So today I bought a little more compost; add in a trowel and everything is in and watered.

The waiting

I am now actually excited about the veg to come. There will be a day when I see little green things poking through the soil, then another when they start to get leaves on them. Hopefully the sun stays high and bright. Soon I will be nipping out to cut some leaves for my lunch and having dinner in the garden with the neighbours.