Wednesday, September 07, 2016


It's no secret that I love gardening. It restores the soul in a way nothing else can. The trouble is that as my arthritis gets worse it's getting harder and harder to do what I want to. This year a combination of things has made it difficult to do what I would like. Pisces' illness and my current -and still not definitively diagnosed - hip problem have meant I've had to cut back a lot.

I've temporarily abandoned the lower section of the garden since I can't handle the steps without extreme difficulty but the vegie patch is still in good condition and supplying us with snow peas, silver beet, lettuces and spring onions with a few beetroot still to be harvested as well as chives (onion and garlic) and several different kinds of parsley. I've let the nasturtiums rampage a bit to add a slightly different flavour to salads - the leaves also work well as a cooked green vegetable - and there's borage to bring the bees in too. Pisces is reluctant to try eating borage leaves for some reason (maybe their hairy surface puts him off) but I'm trying to encourage him to become more adventurous so we get even more out of this useful plant.

I've already started to plant the spring/summer crops with runner bean, red onion, basil and rainbow chard seedlings already in beside the self sown tomatoes and sunflowers plus more lettuce and I'm going to spend part of today making up newspaper seedling tubes to give the other vegies a bit of a start because, if I plant seeds directly into the ground, I find I lose most of the seedlings to snails, slugs and slaters. Yes, I could scatter baits but I have visiting dogs and children and I don't like using poisons of any sort.

At the end of last summer I succumbed to the magic of the seed catalogues and so I now have colourful packets of all sorts of goodies. There's one of carrots of many colours (several shades of yellow and purple among others) and another kind that is purple on the outside and orange inside. I've not had much luck with carrots (they grow well enough but often have an aftertaste that spoils them). I'm hoping these will be better. There are three different kinds of sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, a whole lot of different beans - Purple king (this one produces tasty purple pods that turn green when cooked), butter beans, borlotti beans, snake beans and French beans. Then there are Lebanese cucumbers, butternut squash, zucchini, eggplant and a beetroot I've not tried before to name but a few. And, of course, I also grow a few flowers and I have some fruit plantings that need tending.

So you can see I'll be busy. I know it probably seems like a lot of work, and on one level it is, but the joy of being able to go out into the garden and harvest what we are going to eat or pick a bunch of flowers with my little granddaughter makes up for the sore hands and painful back.


Jo said...

Wish I lived near you. I would love to have some of the veg you can't manage yourselves. I am familiar with borage although I have never actually eaten it, do you like it? Do you eat the beet leaves, they taste like spinach. Didn't know you could eat them til I came to Canada. Recently discovered you can eat radish leaves too but usually by the time we buy them the greenery is pretty far gone. I have tasted some raw but didn't appeal to me. I have eaten those beans (black to me) which turn green when you cook them. I was very disappointed, I wanted to serve black ones.

Helen V. said...

I'm not a fan of radishes, Jo, so have never even thought of using the leaves. I do use beet leaves, though, Very tasty. I was a bit disappointed when the purple beans myself when they turned green but they do taste good.