Well, the tomatoes are out! Phew, I hear you gasp – I know you’ve been worried about their progress.
Covid is still lingering like a teenager hoping to cadge a tenner when they already owe you twenty. We cannot seem to shift it.
The tomatoes slipped way down the list of things to do. Barely watered for the first few weeks of April, they nonetheless survived. I even managed to pot them on, though by the look of some of them, possibly with my eyes closed.
The last few weeks I’ve begun the daily shuffle – on warm days I carry the tray of plants out into the garden to soak up some heat, only to frantically drag them back in when I remember, too late, that they are out there.
I’ve not grown as much this year – what with the covid. ( I have grown significantly – living off reduced Lindt easter bunnies, but I have not grown as many plants.)
The bedding plants I sowed, were slug food -a veritable feast of Zinnia’s, Calendula, and Cosmos. The courgettes and pumpkins, sown with the tomatoes have survived, as have some Morning glory on the windowsill in the kitchen.
The bedding is sorely missed. Now I am waiting for a sunny day, or maybe a day with a W in it, to find the energy for the drive to the nursery.
The garden is a mess. Husband being laid low has at least made NO MOW MAY a little easier – he’d normally be out there like a shot. The garden looks wilder, the cooch grass settling in for the summer.
The tomatoes, however, are looking grand. The stuttering dance of bringing them in and out is over, the night-time temperatures now reaching the magic 10 degrees Celsius ( the minimum overnight temperature for tomatoes and most bedding.) With their feet in the warming soil, they are shooting up.
There is such hope in sowing seeds, in growing your own food. And now with food prices rising it seems a necessity rather than a bit of fun. For the price of a bag of spinach, I could sow a whole field.
I sow a small patch next to the Rocket and cut-and-come-again lettuce. Herbs are next. Coriander and Parsley. Last year I grew Chamomile for tea. We’ll never be self-sufficient but there is something quite magical in wandering around out there, a bowl in hand, picking a few leaves for a salad for tea.
My garden’s not big. I grow food in pots and containers, old washing up bowls, and a few raised beds. It’s amazing what you can fit in. Even a couple of supermarket Basil plants popped in a big pot with some compost will grow, giving you fresh basil for the whole summer.
And that’s the thing about seeds and plants and gardening. Despite everything that is going on in the world, seeds just want to grow. You can’t really do it wrong, even surviving neglect, they will just bloom.
Everything wants to get stronger and flower, turning itself to the light. Maybe it’s that hope, that optimism, that makes gardening so addictive.
You don’t have to go full tomato, crazy ( though I recommend you do) but a few herbs on a windowsill will brighten your day and bring you the taste of summer, even when the sun isn’t shining.
And let’s face it Britain we could all do with a reminder of sunny days.