august in the garden

Salad Aug 2014I am sulking.

I’ve looked everywhere I can think of, and I still can’t find my camera. I’ve upended drawers, rooted through bags and coat pockets, and even took a grumpy trip to the community allotment in a thunderstorm and I still have no idea where it is.

I think I have to reluctantly accept it’s gone forever.

Yesterday I ordered a new one – and I fully expect the old one to turn up before it arrives.

In the meantime, I have resorted to using the camera in my phone, which is ok in bright sunlight, but difficult to use and definitely no good for a quick snap on the move.

But it does mean that I am able to show you my lettuces, which are still going strong underneath the living room window.

I’ve never managed to grow a decent crop of lettuce before, and I’m quite excited about this one (although I do wish some of the more exotic salad leaves had done well too). But I confess I haven’t been as diligent as I could have been about harvesting…

I was updating my harvest list on Friday and realised how appallingly little I’d harvested in August. Just £1.68 worth! I really thought I’d be harvesting more than that by now.

In some ways I can blame my pitiful growing skills. In my garden right now is a large cabbage that is now infested with caterpillars and no use to anyone (except, I suppose, the caterpillars). Tiny courgettes that I’m hoping will grow. Two varieties of kale that don’t yet look big enough to take from. And one solitary green tomato, that I’m hoping will be joined by some tomatoey friends very soon.

But on the other hand, there is food out there that I’m just not making time to harvest. Lettuce, of course – but I don’t want to eat that every day, and it takes time to wash and check for bugs, and so I often don’t bother before dinner. Sage, oregano, mint, basil – and yet the herb I use most is the rosemary I dried last year.

Clearly there’s something to be said for planning. I haven’t grown enough that I can wander through the gaden picking an entire meal. But right before dinner is not the time to think ‘aha, I must use up some of that salad!’

As usual, there’s a balance.

I’m aiming to at least break even on the amount I spend and harvest from the garden this year – which means harvesting more.

So this afternoon I’m going to pick some herbs for drying. As much as I like the idea of fresh herbs, and I do use them sometimes – I think I’d use them far more if they were dried and right next to the cooker. And on days when I’m at home, I’ll pick lettuce and kale and water the courgettes.

And, of course, I’m going to start plotting for next year – although so far my plotting consists of a long list of questions. How do I ensure I grow more than one tomato?? My purple beans were a great hit – where can I find space to plant more than two bushes?. Why will my kale grow in containers but not in the ground? How come everyone else has masses of courgettes and mine are still tiny? Was planting that willow hedge the worst gardening decision I ever made?

And is what I really need an allotment? Or a new house with a nice big garden??

Questions, questions…

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One Response to august in the garden

  1. TDQ Karen says:

    Try St Anthony’s prayer, St Anthony St Anthony give back what does not belong to thee. I was advised to chant this when I have lost things in my craft room and the things seemed to turn up near where I thought I had left them, even though I had turned the place upside down. Worth a try?

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