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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

61. A tale of two vegetable patches: Part two

A little while ago I wrote a post comparing our (first ever) veg patch with our (very experienced 64 year-old) neighbour’s veg patch. Needless to say, the comparison wasn’t kind. Svilen’s veg patch is glorious - regimentally organised rows bursting with huge fruits and veg.

(Isn’t there a horror movie with a corn field with crazy killers in it? Anyway, it’s a bit like that in next door’s garden - except with monstrously tall, thick tomato plants. Sometimes when I’m stood in my garden I can feel the eyes of a crazy killer, silently stalking me from between those rows.*)

By comparison, our veg patch is a little haphazard. Success in some areas - courgettes, potatoes, carrots, radishes, tomatoes. But tempered by complete and utter failures in others - leeks, rocket and lettuce seeds that never produced a single item. I guess that’s what you get for just chucking seeds in the ground on the first warm weekend of the year. Next door had planted their seeds indoors while there was still snow on the ground. While I was still wearing three pairs of trousers and continually checking to see if the toilet had unfrozen, they were already thinking ahead to what they would eat come summer.

Not that it’s a competition or anything.

Except, if it was a competition, our courgettes would totally win.

We obviously neglected to pick this one and it turned into a bloody marrow!


The neighbours have been fascinated by our courgettes. We bought the seeds over from England (customs folk look away now!) so it’s a different variety from the typical big, white Bulgarian courgettes. Our crop has been ridonkulous. For starters we planted too many seeds and have ended up with six plants. All six of those plants are very productive. So we’ve been drowning in courgettes for a couple of months now. I’m always sure to give the neighbours a bag. (They kindly reciprocate with a bag of tomatoes, meaning we’re also on the verge of a serious tomato glut!)  So this summer we’ve been eating a lot of courgette pasta, fritters, courgette salad, frittata, and cakes. Chocolate courgette cake (very nice), lemon and poppy seed courgette cake (unmitigated disaster), banana and courgette loaf (so delicious I made two in 24 hours). An entire drawer in our freezer is known as “the ratatouille drawer”. The very thought of still eating rata-bloody-touille in January makes me shudder. And I really like courgettes. I’m just running out of interesting things to do with them.

Sometimes I just want egg and chips, you know?

All things considered though, I’m getting quite into this veg growing business. Obviously I’ll be AMAZING at it next year - proper, organised raised beds; not a weed in sight; planting seeds indoors before the toilet unfreezes, all that shizzle. I’m going to get a pair of ankle wellies. You heard me, ankle wellies! Maybe even one of those nice knee pad things. I’m going to read seed catalogues in my spare time and start listening to that gardening show on that really boring radio station. It’s going to be brillo!

Perhaps, the very fact that I still use words like “brillo” indicates that I’m not yet ready for ankle wellies and Radio 4. But I’ll give it my best shot.

(You may place your bets now that, come next March, I’ll just wander outside and chuck seeds straight in the ground after making Rob hastily dig some trenches. All the while saying “I never did get around to making nice raised beds. Next year…”)


*Mum, this is a joke. Do not be alarmed.