The Savage Gardener

I discovered I liked gardening about twenty years ago when to distract myself over the waiting of exam results (turned out I failed and had to do retakes) I took it upon myself to start of some weeding, before I new I had weeded, mowed the lawn and even pruned some bushes, my parents were well impressed (with the garden, not the exam results). Since then I dabbled where I can in growing thing. When I lived in my tiny little sixth floor flat, which happened to be south facing and so in effect was a greenhouse in the summer, I grew tomatoes on the window sill in any container I could find, I hate waste so even recycled an old round fish tank into a plant pot one year to grow my tomatoes, I always did quite well with these. One year I grew I sunflower with six heads on my bathroom window sill.

When I temporarily moved to ‘Burbs of Essex to help The Goth finish decorating his house, I asked to grow veggies at the back of this pretty big garden which only had a lawn because my OH had put his foot down with ex who had originally wanted to the concrete the whole garden!! I uncovered the old wood chip play area and the soil was so fertile from not being used I grew quite a successful harvest and again some gigantic, multi-headed sunflowers and so when I moved to south London bringing The Goth and Brat Cat with me, I insisted on a garden not just for the cat but for me. We have a nice little flat in Tooting with a small garden which is pretty much been concreted over, there are two bushes, a camellia and hydrangea, the tenancy agreement does not allow us to plant into the soil and she’s covered it with slate but she did say I could have pot plants and never specified how many so last year I tried my hand at container gardening! I learnt quite a lot from this and so this year I have a better plan, if you can call it that, I tend to with gardening as with most things, take a haphazard/wing it approach and just mostly hope for the best. Like for instance, I found a load of bulbs in the shed at the beginning of the year and quickly planted them hoping they would flower in spring, they did. But I am getting better and learning especially about growing in semi hostile environments like our garden which also included constant attacks by the curious  and crazy kittens from next door

The larger greenhouse was dismantled by the wind yesterday!

Crazy kitten from next door!

So today I decided to start planting some seeds. I generally only use seeds from three main companies called Seed Parade, The Real Seed Catalogue and More Veg, I also started using Wilko seeds as well and found that you can occasionally get good roots like Rhubarb and Strawberry and Dahlia bulbs at The 99p Store and Poundland.  I generally start my seeds off too early in February because I’m impatient and most tend to end up to leggy or being attacked by the cat! This year I waited mainly due to the indecisiveness of what to grow, we have limited space, we don’t use the garden much except to eat breakfast when it’s sunny and when the kids next door aren’t trying to destroy their own garden or just generally cracked out on sugar! The gardens are tiny and there is not much privacy in the city like you get in the ‘burbs but I’ll pick the city over the ‘burbs any day!

Some of the late planted bulbs

So I plan on using all the space I can to grow things, we have a lot of shady spots in the garden so I bought some seeds that grow better in cooler spots such a white wonder cucumber, white soul strawberries and Glacier, white wonder and sub arctic plenty tomatoes. I think this year I mainly be sticking to salad type plants, I may attempt a squash or two I’m not sure yet. So far I’ve started off the following seeds

  • Tomatoes – Yellow Pear, Glacier, Pink Charmer (F1), Tumbler (F1), Limon, Tigerella, White Wonder and Sub Arctic Plenty
  • Cucumbers – White Wonder, Poona Kheera and Crystal Lemon
  • Peppers and Chillies – Sweet Chocolate Peppers, Cherry Bomb, Lemon Drop and Cayenne Chillies
  • Cucamelons (Mexican Sour Gherkin or Mexican Miniature Watermelon. The fruits taste just like cucumber with a hint of lime) and Tomatillos (Tangy Tomatillos are a staple of Mexican cooking. They are lovely to eat raw or grilled or even added to a home made salsa source). 
You may have noticed a few different varieties from the bog standard seeds you get in garden centres etc and that because I like to grow things you don;t generally find on your weekly shop. Living in Tooting I get to try my fair share of exotic fruits and veg and so I like to grow stuff I can’t easily get hold, I like trying new things. Anyway I think I’ve rambled on enough and will report back next week with what else is going into this years kitchen garden. (I also promise it won’t be this lengthy or rambly!!)