So we planted some courgettes, and some currant bushes have come our way and sit patiently at the back door waiting to be planted out in a spare moment…
…alongside some strawberry plants given away by a friend with a glut, …and some herbs that were a mother’s day gift…
We’re struggling to keep on top of the back door watering, and the energetic seedlings on the window ledge are beginning to resemble extras from Last Day of the Triphids.
This second child seems to have tipped the balance. Weekend breakfasts throw up heated discussions about prioritisation of watering: ‘Without water these seedlings will DIE!’, and ‘It’s only a five minute job!’…but I am almost defeated by the simple demands of putting a meal on the table and keeping my family in clean pants.
Yes, feeding and watering my family puts those poor courgettes at a distinct disadvantage. ‘Spare moments’ are in short supply and are generally one-handed (this is one of them), and the watering can never seems to be at hand.
…The discussion rolls out, tends to the apocalyptic, voices strain: ‘is it still realistic for us to plant and maintain a vegetable garden?’ For a pair of high minded, rather stubborn idealists, life has become a healthy lesson in choosing compromises. Is this one of them?
As if saved by serendipity, in the past two weeks, we have been blessed by a string of visits from horticulturalists, foragers, forest gardeners… with eyes tuned more keenly than ours to edibility.
It appears we needn’t have fretted about the vegetable garden – we have one already:
dandelions, nettles, ground elder, primroses, clover, brambles, gooseberries, wild strawberries, hawthorn… – an abundant crop (OK, so ‘vegetables’ in the loosest sense…).
How’s that for the ultimate ‘no-dig’ garden?
It only serves to vindicate my not-so-secret belief that sustainable living surely shouldn’t be such hard work.
We have been dining well.