By Spring 2015, my garden was becoming a bigger part of my life. I was making plans, checking weather forecasts and figuring out what I could do when. I was largely held back by not having a clue still, the fact that I still didn’t have many plants or funds to buy them. I was still much tied to pots and annuals.
I decided to paint my shed to match my front gate. This led onto painting the back fence and digging out a new border.
It wasn’t long before I realised that we had really poor soil. It was full of bricks, glass, broken pottery, breeze blocks and even plastic bags of rubbish! I really did have my work cut out for me before I could even plant anything.
Despite this little setback, I was full of joy at the many daffodils and tulips popping up from the autumn planting. Tulips are still one of my absolute favourites and I can never resist the urge to buy more bulbs each year.
Mid-April, I’d saved enough to get some wood for the raised bed. We agonised over what size to make it and in the end I was persuaded by my dad to fill the space and have it as big as possible. Construction began…
It was all a bit of a rush that took several weekends and in between a holiday and suddenly I had runner beans to plant out and a half-full, half-dug raised bed. We decided to plant in the one side and just make do with what we had. It was a pretty awkward growing year!
At around the same time, we were lucky enough to come across some end of line slabs of different sizes at a bargain price of £30 for the lot. So in they went as stepping stones around the bed and a path down to the trampoline (and what I had planned to be the site of a summer house for the future).
This might all sound a bit slapdash and in some ways it was. You see I really did have no clue, not much time around work or when I had helpers so I had to make quick decisions and just go with it.
But in the end, that really didn’t matter. I may have been awkwardly standing in the middle of a sloped half-full raised bed, but I was picking runner beans until we were absolutely sick of them. You can see Faye above was actually shouting ‘Not more beans!’ We grew onions and a solitary sweetcorn that didn’t pollinate.
We grew courgettes in pots, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries; tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the polytunnel. The tomatoes didn’t actually start turning red until September as I had planted them so late but they still tasted amazing.
And gradually I added new flowers to the new borders with the dreadful soil. They didn’t seem to mind too much.
I remember this year fondly. In truth, I was probably running around like a headless chicken, tearing my hair out at not having done things ‘properly’ or ‘good enough’ but it taught me that no matter how you do it, it is still absolutely possible to grow your own veg and fruit. And you really can’t beat the taste of home-grown tomatoes. Those in the supermarkets are a poor imitation.
I think it was safe to say that I had the gardening bug!