Homes

Colin Hogg: Green eyed monster – Colin’s garden

Colin’s garden awakens his competitive nature.

I made some big promises last year when I downsized my career and started working from home. Among them was the suggestion that I’d have time to become so good in the garden, we’d never need to buy another vegetable.

At least, that seems to have been the impression I gave. I don’t recall my exact words, though I do remember being enthusiastic about growing our own food.

Well, some of it – but only vegetables. I didn’t want to farm chickens or take out the goldfish and experiment with salmon in the fishpond. Also, I didn’t want to attempt potatoes.

My mother – who lives down in the spud-friendly south – told me there’s no point in trying to grow them in the north.

But there was no reason we couldn’t do almost everything else. There was a big, sunny backyard out there, packed full of rich volcanic soil just begging to be turned into a food factory.

We got a landscaper pal to build two raised beds. They’re enormous – much bigger than I imagined them. I thought one would have done and tried to stop him halfway through, but the wife – who comes from a farming family and knows more about these things – insisted that we needed two.

She said she’d look after one of them, but when they were built, I was so excited at all the possibilities, I jumped in and planted both of them before she had a chance.

Then it turned out that I was much better at growing some things than others. “We’ll certainly never want for chives,” I told my darling, proudly pointing to a great green sea of the things.

“No we won’t,” she said, though not very enthusiastically. Soon after, she announced that she would be staking her claim on the second plot and I was to stick to my own patch in

the near future.

I’m concerned this could put us into a bit of a competitive situation, though the beloved one doesn’t see it that way.

She reckons that’s a silly male thing and I should just get on with growing my things while she gets on with hers.

Though she hasn’t really. She got involved in some early outdoor action – a little light planting for an hour or so one Saturday afternoon – but since then has barely crossed the lawn, never mind considered what might have happened to her carrots.

Unfortunately, what happened to her carrots – and beetroot for that matter – is the kitten, who searches the garden constantly for new bathroom options and was delighted to find a spot available in the absent patch.

On the other hand, my broccoli and spinach are looking very lively indeed and, it must be said, rather competitive. The chives remain so unstoppable, we might have to put ourselves on a chive-based diet, if there is such a thing. I’m looking into it.

Though investing labour and love in a vegetable garden is a slight waste of time when you live with a 14-year-old who’d probably be happiest on an all-spaghetti bolognaise diet.

We all come round to liking our greens eventually, don’t we? In the case of this kid’s taste buds, I’m not so sure, but I live in hope. Meantime, I’ll be slipping chives into everything.

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