Out the front of the house is a small vegetable garden, surrounded by an electric fence to keep the wild goats out. My landlady was kind enough to plant tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, what I have tentatively identified as cabbage, and beans.
Not so keen on the beans.
They creep me out.
Not sure why.
Undaunted by my mother’s living legacy (she inadvertently terrorises all chlorophyll based life forms leaving a trail of rotting destruction and wiltedness in her wake), I have embraced gardening with gusto. My composting has taken on a new enthusiasm now that I can apply it. Every morning I get up at 7am and feel a glow of worthiness which is only compounded by pulling on my orange gardening gloves. I spend at least half an hour weeding, watering tomatoes, and teaching bugs how to fly. Sometimes more.
Landlady advised that the lettuce she planted for us needed to be separated out. Late one evening, I chose two of the sturdier lettuces for a trial separation. I chatted to them reassuringly while I eased them out of the ground, transplanted them to their new home and plied them with beverage.
I felt a real connection, like I had BONDED with my lettuces. So you can imagine my grief when I came out the following morning to find them flopped all over the show.
“It’s the best way to learn,” suggested Landlady supportively. “You win some, you lose some. You’re going to have a few casualties along the way.”
“Not in my garden,” I responded grimly.
Over the next couple of days I coddled my lettuces. This involved massaging them, taking them for walks, watering them twice a day, and dissuading Jed from trampling them.
It was a moment of exquisite triumph when I came out one morning and found my lettuces propped up like little green flowers, perkier than a barrel of nipples in a chill breeze.
That same day, I was vigorously attacking some weeds. I did note the roots were a pretty fuchsia colour, but it wasn’t until I had pulled about a dozen of them that I realised . . . I was ripping up radishes.
I plunged the plants back into the ground and so far they appear to have survived my rampage.
I don’t care what it takes: they’re all coming out alive.