Our little back garden is small and scruffy. This is Andy in the winter, having a first, exploratory dig. Excuse the washing line, the weeds and the tatty pots; we are a humble household, despite living in the grand Cotswolds. The earth looks good, but is not very nutritious, no matter what we add. If it were really and truly our own, we would transform it; as it is, our slack and greedy landlord should be thankful that when we leave, it will not be waist high in nettles and weeds, as it was when we moved in. Enough sourness. We have fun with our little bits of earth and have learned what we can and can't grow. This year (hopefully our last one here), we are simply growing as much as we can of the things which thrive. NOT root vegetables/onions/brassicas/garlic/sweetcorn. They have been poor performers. Stones grow well though. Today brought more lovely sun and we had packets of seeds whispering enticements from their pretty packets. We went down to our local DIY shop and picked up a large bag of compost. Andy slung it over his shoulder like a captured wife and we headed home. Nice Mrs S. was in her garden and I raced across the road to ask her if she had EGGS? Yes, she did have EGGS, lots, the hens had been squeezing them out. So we picked up a dozen. Mrs S's egg supply has been a bit hit and miss, and she is the only person in the village who sells them. But now she has a handy honesty bag on her doorstep (if you know where to find it) so I only have to walk ten minutes down the road for Good Eggs. Eggs are my favourite food. Ever.
Now we had compost, and an afternoon of quiet seed planting (me) and bed digging (Andy) ahead. First to unearth the last miserable attempts at celeriac. We had harvested enough on Christmas day (tennis and golf ball size) to make very tasty mash for dinner. The last few had managed to grow to more respectable sizes, and were now 'baby' rather than 'miniature'. Andy has a natural, peasant action when it comes to digging and trimming veg, you'd think he'd been doing it all his life.
There is something so reviving about pottering in the garden. The gentle routine of nestling neat rows of seeds into fresh earth, imagining what riches they will bring forth. The smallest of events becomes an adventure; a sleepy bumble bee crashing around, strange grubs unearthed. We even caught a tiger -
I planted early peas directly into the old celeriac bed. Peas are one of the things we do well, despite my anarchic approach. A couple of years ago I thought that planting them in rows was a waste of space which we could ill afford, and after all - in the wild - seeds self sow themselves willynilly. So I sowed an entire pack in a small square, by hurling them out and loosely covering them. Amazingly it worked brilliantly, so this is how we do it now - the 'scatter gun' technique.
We had three garden helpers, but they decided to catch some rays - and the gingers do love the sun. Mousie stayed under her plastic tub, which keeps the warmth in, like a furry little potato being baked in a pot.
At the end of the day, when the wind was getting a bit picky, I had sown; stripy courgettes and round courgettes, purple beans and white beans, outdoor cucumbers, German Orange strawberry tomatoes and Cerise cherry tomatoes, chillies, 3 types of nasturtiums, Jolly Jester marigolds, peas, dwarf broad beans, spinach, mixed leaf salad and I still haven't finished. There are four types of potatoes chitting in egg boxes, by my much neglected Adana press...
...and we now share the bedroom with two trays of seeds - and two 'cheat' tomato plants we bought, just to be sure we get some tomatoes this year as we lost most of ours to blight last year and the year before. Yes, those are two old sewing machines on the right hand side. I wish I could show you rolling country views from our window, but living in the centre of the village we are hemmed in by (albeit picturesque) houses and cottages. But I've lived in worse places, so I enjoy the views every single day. Roofs and all.
Feeling all windswept, sun kissed and sleepy, I drowsed while Andy cooked bacon, sausages and Mrs S's EGGS, which were big, golden and completely delicious. And despite the crashings from the kitchen, as utensils were hurled into the sink, I didn't even have to wash up. Which was completely the perfect end to a delightfully relaxing day. And much needed; the next couple of weeks are going to be occupied with a melange of geese-y things as I tackle the first lap of another jumbo order.