I’ve always assumed I’d never be much of a green thumb; When anyone gave me potted plants from the supermarket, they’d be dead within weeks. And while the thought of eating fruits and vegetables that had actual flavour, I never had the inclination to dig up the grass to plant my own.
Then in August, we moved house and everything changed. Rather than the miserable always-shaded garden from our old house, where 12 neighbours’ windows were always overlooking, we’d just moved to a house with a large allotment*. That’s when I realised that, with the right setting, gardening could actually be a lot of fun.
[* “Allotment” is a term used in the UK to describe a green space used to grow fruit and veg. In urban areas, these are often communal areas where everyone rents a little patch of their own. We’re very lucky that ours is at the end of the backyard and quite spacious, but I do envy the sense of community and amount of advice that must exist in shared allotments.]
Over the autumn and winter, we let the garden get rather weedy, so much of March was spent weeding. Not the kind of dainty weeding where you walk around in your straw hat and pick up a little weed here and there. Picture Indiana Jones in the jungle with a machete. Yes, that’s more like it.
By the first week of April, enough had been cleared out to consider planting the first potatoes. I bought a bag of three types of potatoes to be planted at about 3 weeks intervals, so I should have some nice variety this summer! The first ones (Colleen variety) are showing lots of leaves now, closely followed by the Remarka potatoes in the second row. The third ones (Sarpo Mira) aren’t visible yet.
Amusingly, while looking at the weeds that are starting to grow in the areas we haven’t planted in, it looks like we also have Surprise potatoes; otherwise known as ones the previous house owner planted last year that are now in random spots in the ground and growing of their own accord.
Another legacy from the previous gardener is a corner of raspberry canes. Again, these were only tended to in the Spring so there are a LOT of new canes that will need to be dug out at the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll have some amazing raspberries this year – if I can stop the birds from getting at them first!
And a few random asparagus shoots have also reared their heads.
The remainder of the garden is all a bit of a wild meadow, with loads of perennials covering the garden in new colours every week. Once we get to know what’s already there, we’ll be able to add our own touches, but this year, it’s mostly a process of discovery.