By: Blonde Two
Do you remember Borage Johnson? Back at the beginning of lockdown he, along with many other plants, was just a seedling in my greenhouse. Well sadly BJ has since withered (sound familiar?) but his sister Boragina has flourished and is now taller than my new apple trees, covered in flowers and very popular with the bees. Boragina isn’t alone. My whole garden has become an edible, flowering jungle. Vegetables and flowers are packed in so tightly together foraging for harvest is now definitely a jungle exploration experience. It’s just as well I can eat many of the flowers. I have carrots growing under my sweetcorn, which has runner beans growing up is and peas leaning on it. I have tromboncini climbing the tomato plants against the back fence and cucamelons exploring the greenhouse. My stripy aubergine has three little brothers on their way, my pickle cupboard is filling up and it looks like I will be making a lot of chilli sauce later in the year.
I have heard from lots of people who have been enjoying far more garden horticulture than usual this year. There have been many stories of success and amusement. For reasons of propriety I really shouldn’t mention the ongoing Femspot cucumber sagas but there has been mildew, swelling and growth involved, plus a lot of laughter amongst good friends. Every garden should have at least one Femspot! My garden success hasn’t come easily (let’s call it character building). I have had to wrestle slugs, slay snails and (more recently) dispatch caterpillars, all at the same time as trying to encourage more wildlife into my garden.
I have become firmly entrenched in the ideas behind the permaculture movement and am in the process of turning what was a tricky shady area into my first food forest. I am now an avid reader of books, a builder of planting layers and re-user of materials. My veggie boxes are made (by my son) from recycled wood, I have installed a second hand wormery behind the shed and my pigeon scarers are made from an old dress and plastic I have found on the beach.
In previous years my vegetable growing has been a bit lack lustre and not exactly successful. This year the additional space via the veggie boxes and the realisation that plants grow more successfully when they are allowed to do what they do in natural environments (i.e. mix together and help each other) have both made a huge difference.
I could let my enthusiasm get away with me here but I really only have one more thing to say. To all of you who have been enjoying your garden this summer, don’t stop now. There are plenty of veg that will grow through the winter (especially if you live in Devon), and gardening will help you get your winter vitamin D. It’s not too late to be sowing cauliflower, leeks, cabbage and even a few late lettuce. Gardening is a great way to get outside and can give you hours of exercise as well as fun. If you don’t believe me, turn your step counter on and head outside to do a few jobs. You will be surprised just how far you walk.