Lisa’s Letters Home: How Does My Garden Not Grow?

Lisa’s Letters Home: How Does My Garden Not Grow?

This time of year, I’d normally have several things sprouting in little pots on my windowsill and a few things already in the garden. At the end of the month, I should be sowing seeds outdoors, like lettuce, carrots, and leeks. Thanks to the non-stop, miserable, dismal rain, none of this is happening. Look at my garden. Just look at it. I weep.

It’s been too cold to get anything started without a greenhouse and the rain has deterred me from going outside and preparing the vegetable plot. So at the moment, all I’ve got are leftovers from seasons past: one strawberry plant that looks fairly promising (as long as the birds don’t eat all the berries like they did last year, the gits), a sprig of mint that might accomplish something one day, and a spindly bit of thyme that may or may not be edible. On the plus side, I might actually get some strawberries and mint to put in my Pimm’s this summer.

Apparently we should all be panic-buying potatoes now because crops have either been ruined or are very slow to get going due to all the rain. The price of potatoes are expected to go up this summer, so get your spuds now before we have massive queues and riots at the supermarkets.

I should be still be able to get some plants out there this year, though. My father-in-law (whose thumbs are far greener than mine) always starts off tomato plants for me in his greenhouse, then we put them in a hanging basket at the sunny end of our garden. There is nothing like eating something that’s fresh from your own garden, even if it’s a just bit of snipped basil from a windowsill pot. Not only does it make you the Queen of Smugdom, it’s economical and you know it hasn’t been sprayed with anything nasty.

Don’t be afraid of seeds. They’re so easy to start and cost so much less than seedlings. I came across the idea to use eggshells as “biodegradable” seedling pots, and will give that a go this year (thank you again, people of Pinterest). All it takes is a sunny windowsill, a narrow box of some sort, and a plastic lid or covering to protect the seedlings. Once they’re a couple of inches tall and there’s no risk of frost, out they go.

I always get the kids involved in the gardening because a) they become familiar with different vegetables and herbs and are more willing to try them and b) they’re remarkably cheap labour. They think weeding is fun, so I take full advantage! There is great excitement when we go out to check our plants and see that something’s sprouted. The kids have seeds of their own and are always so proud when one of their plants grow. Last year, my 4-year-old had a ceramic hedgehog that sprouted cress on top. The fact that the cress grew back after we gave him “haircuts” was the highlight of her summer. (And she actually ate it, too.) I just really cannot wait to get out there.

In case you’re wondering, yes – it’s STILL RAINING. Sigh.

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  1. Sarah
    May 11, 08:28 Reply

    This is my first year growing plants from seeds and you’re right, they are not to be feared! I recommend a few growing lights — apparently you can use any old fluorescent lights (my enormous tomato plants can vouch for this!).

    Hope the sun shines soon! For both of us – I can’t wait to get out there and get planting!

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