The Garden

My knee injury has resurfaced, which means no hiking for a while, so I’ve finally had a chance to work on the garden.

All we had in the way of outdoor space at our flat in London was the top of a fire escape; I did have a small trough filled with compost there, but the cats commandeered it for snoozing and sunbathing before I could get any seeds in. (Other uses of that space included, once, a disposable BBQ that filled our kitchen with thick, noxious smoke…)

The chalet here has plenty of outdoor space, including a patch of land beyond the lawn that our landlord really only bought so that nobody could build there. In past years an elderly man from the village has grown vegetables there, but it seems like he has decided he’s too old for that now, so it is pretty much at our disposal. It’s totally overgrown and the soil is filled with weed roots, so it’s tough digging beds and I think it’s going to be a constant battle maintaining them, but I’m thrilled at the prospect of growing our own food.

Fighting back the jungle

So far I’ve put some lettuce in, and we have basil and mint nearer the house. It’s such a joy to have fresh herbs; it makes you remember just how bland the ones that come in those awful plastic packets from the supermarket are. I can’t wait until we have enough mint to make ice cream. We’re planning carrots and tomatoes, perhaps chilli, maybe some strawberries or raspberries.

Instead of heading straight to the computer, my day now starts with a little potter around outside. I’m grateful for the sound, or the feeling, of drops of rain; never more so than when the skies opened just after all the lettuces were planted.

I’m seeing this particular garden as a learning experience (one of my lettuces has already been munched by an unwelcome guest… must set up some netting tomorrow). I wish I had Jacob at my side, expert grower of both flowers and produce, to show me where I have planted too close together, or haven’t turned the soil enough. But hopefully this will be my first season of many, wherever we end up making our permanent home. How wonderful would it be if our kids’ first tastes of something were from our own garden?

He'll probably be the greatest beneficiary of my labour

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