Year two of the StripeyAnne Garden of Self-Sufficiency has produced a bounty of good things. It’s also delivered a few lessons which I’m willing to share for free in the spirit of us all growing our own stuff and creating a swap economy where money will never have to change hands again. Tomatoes will be our currency and I will be a millionaire.
I’m quite new to this gardening lark so there’s been lots of experimentation and even more learning – oh the subtleties of it all – who’s to know there are different types of compost, handily numbered by someone called John Innes? – wasn’t he in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band?
Lesson 1 – There is never enough poo.
No matter how many leaky bags we filled at the Giant Poo Pile of Horsforth, generously donated by the horses at te local stables, more is always needed. Thank goodness Noel’s is the estate car and therefore the poo transport of choice
Lesson 2 – There can never be too many tomatoes
The Great Tomato Glut of Calverley continues, pick one and two grow in their place. Our neighbour even leaves bags of his tomatoes for me on the doorstep. I don’t want to offend him with a refusal. Still, more pizza sauce.Yum.
Lesson 3 – There can never be too many mange tout
Like the tomatoes, except they don’t make good pizza sauce.
Lesson 4 – One cornichon is one too many
Green and slimy, devoid of texture or taste, cornichons are those little mini gerkins you hastily discard from French sandwiches.So why did I think it was a good idea to grow some? Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was the novelty of sowing seeds bought in Switzerland with instructions in French, German or Italian. Whatever the reason, they grew faster than the tomatoes and mange tout, but were absolutely no use whatsoever. I pickled a jarful and can confidently predict they will never be eaten.
Lesson 5 – Cape Gooseberries promise much, but deliver little
You know those bitter orange berries with papery leaves you get with posh puddings in fancy restaurants? They’re Cape Gooseberries, or physalis and need no encouragement to grow from seed, throw out massive leaves and make their lantern-like fruit. Unfortunately they need a lot of sun and there’s not been much of that this summer.
Lesson 5 – broccoli throws out a lot of leaves before making any heads
Is it worth it? The caterpillars think so.
So as I munch on yet another pizza with mange tout topping, I contemplate the plan for next year. I’m not sure what will be sown or grown, but I can tell you now, cornichons and cape gooseberries have had their day.