Don’t Come Into the Garden, Maud

aquilegiaThere was a time when Sunday morning was for lie-ins, love-ins and breakfast in bed. Now it’s the time for weigh-ins as I check the damage a week of hedonism and TV dinners has done.

Yesterday the pointer on the scales (don’t like digital you can’t cheat) hovered treacherously where no needle’s been before and for the fourth week running I decided Something Must Be Done.

An hour later with hoe in hand and a merry whistle on lips I headed for the garden. Good exercise to be had in the garden; all that push and pull, bend and stretch and copious cups of coffee and chocolate cake for energy. Sorry, old habits, I mean of course sports water and a luscious dry Ryvita.

I set to in the Home for Distressed Fruit and Vegetables aka the veggie garden. This is part of my cunning plan to pay for as little in life as possible. Horrendous cold winds and an excess of early planting zeal on my part meant that I was faced with the reproachful remnants of peas and beans; raspberry and blueberry bushes afflicted with frost-bite; early carrot crops that had clearly turned tail and are probably now rootling their way through the earth’s core to Australia.

By teatime, I’d fettled the place up; bullied the peas into standing up straight; strung up the broad beans and searched out every bit of couch grass, bitter cress and anything else I didn’t like the look of. I pounced on any lurking snail which was then dropped in a bucket and disposed of.

My last inspired act was to bestrew all the plants with something called “soil enricher”. There was a sackful of the stuff that I inherited when I moved here. It had been lurking in the woodshed all the while and the writing on the sack had faded away but it looked like good rich compost. Just the stuff to perk up the veggies.

Tired but happy I showered, changed and hung my blue solar lanterns on the apple tree before enjoying the evening sun and a glass of…um, grape juice on the patio. As I sipped the golden nectar I looked around to admire my handiwork and saw my veggie plot gently steaming and with the steam came a familiar, pungent aroma.

Suffice it to say that some folk have the smell of sizziling sausages on the barbecue to accompany their sundowner, I get ammonia and from what source I really wouldn’t like to say. But I am sure there is no way I’ll be eating my greens unless they’ve been doubly sterilised first.

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