Friday, 24 April 2009



It's spring and this picture makes me long to start growing things. I think vegetables and fruit are among the most beautiful and colourful things of our world and this picture is full of colour! I love fruit and veg markets in other countries; huge piles of glorious knobbly tomatoes, shiny onions, exquisite furry-feeling fragrant peaches, oranges that still smell fresh from the tree (oranges in our supermarkets, indeed vegetables and fruit in general in our supermarkets, have very little smell which makes shopping a very dull experience).

My garden is very tiny, but even so I have runner-beans in a large tub, trained up bamboo canes; I have a patch of excellently sweet rhubarb; a Crispin apple tree that generously fruits every year even though it too is small as yet; and I'll be growing salad rocket in pots. On my window-sill are some potato tubers chitting up, and I am going to try growing these in bin bags full of compost. You start them off in a small layer of rich comppost, in a bag with its sides rolled down like sagging socks, and you add more compost and roll the bag up a little more as the plants begin to grow. I am told you can produce quite an amount of potatoes this way. We'll see!
In past years I grew the beans up the fences, muddled in with the roses and summer jasmines, but they never did very well that way so let's hope they do better in their tub. I might try some baby beetroot in the borders in with the flowers, but the soil is very sandy here and dries out very fast; root vegetables aren't too keen on that. Radish maybe? Except I'm not too keen on radish. Probably I should be preparing for climate warming by planting drought-loving flowers, or cacti or something: maybe I could try star apples; they grew on reasonably small trees in Malaysia, or papayas which grow straight and tall, perfect for that 'vertical' element in the garden. Although after last winter's bitterly cold weeks perhaps not. Or not yet at any rate...

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