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Novice Gardener's Delight

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Tomato plants have a really distinct smell. There is something inordinately pleasing and earthy and, well, fresh about the smell you get if you gently rub your hand on the leaves of a tomato plant. (I mean, I don’t recommend doing it a lot, or for too long. People might think you’re weird, particularly if you do it in a garden centre and not in the privacy of your own greenhouse.) I have a friend who despises the taste of tomatoes, has a phobia of ketchup (I kid you not) and STILL grows tomatoes every year because the smell is so evocative for her, bringing back childhood memories. It is great, because I get the tomatoes. Win – win, I feel!

So, this year I am trying my hand at growing my own. I did attempt last year, and actually got a few, but they never ripened, due to my distinct lack of greenhouse, despite it being the hottest summer I can remember. So, clearly, outdoor tomatoes are not going to work when you live in Wales.

The greenhouse is on the list of things to do. However, as the handyman (I mean my husband!) is currently busy with renovating the bathroom, I don’t want to distract his focus, as having to share my tiny en-suite with two messy children is, quite frankly, doing my head in. I’d love to say I’d build it, doing it for the girls, but I’m thinking that any attempt of mine to dig out foundations and brick the base of a greenhouse is going to result in something out of the story of the three little pigs, and NOT the brick one…

So, as a stop gap I decided to invest in a plastic frame greenhouse with a plastic cover. It came with pegs and ropes to try to anchor it to stop it blowing away. They did not work. I am just waiting for the random crop of lettuce and carrots from the seedlings that got blown about the garden.

Which means: they are now living in my house. Which would be less of a problem if we had more space, but due to renovations (see above) we have a whole house of furniture stuffed into half the space. But I have found a way – our kitchen does feel a little like a greenhouse anyway, so that’s the theme we’ve gone with this year! It does also make it easier to remember to water, when the plants are only three metres away from the sink, so there’s a bonus, I guess.

I also went cheap-skate and bought three sad, half dead baby plants from the local garden centre to see if I could rescue them. The ‘Gardener’s delight’ is doing well – glad its living up to its name – but one of the Alicante gave up the ghost. Still, two out of three ain’t bad. (Think there’s a song in there somewhere!) Who knows if they’ll actually produce any crop, but at the moment I am feeling all smug about my green kitchen.

My mother did try to rock the boat with a gift of tumbling tomatoes, apparently suited to being grown in a hanging basket, but I think that one of those hung up in the kitchen would be the final straw for the handyman. Maybe I’ll just leave them to the brutal winds and random hail of May in Wales. Unless I can find a space somewhere in the utility….



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