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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

One little raspberry and a whole load of aphids

Today is another landmark day for Gertie. Look what I have found - one little raspberry!

I am thinking about what to do with it. Do I wait for the whole family to be together, and carefully divide it into six pieces? I could eat it and no one would ever know - but that feels a bit mean. It can stay where it is for now, and I will hope that Gertie produces a few brothers and sisters for it before the birds eat this one.

Some people have asked why I have named the vegetable patch. And, why I have named it Gertie.

Well, daft (and possibly slightly insulting for her namesake?) as it will sound, I named her after this Gertie's excellent blog - it seemed right to have a sewing theme, and, I just liked the name.

No sewing or gardening reason to show you this random picture, other than it was one of the many things I picked up off the kitchen floor this morning, and I liked it. I need to remind myself to enjoy the creative things my children do without any input from me - and not just get cross with the mess they make. So, I stuck a bit of Sellotape on the back of this picture and it is now on the wall in the kitchen.

Anyhow, back to Gertie. Slugs and snails have been declared foes. I regularly treat them to generous helpings of bright blue food. I apologise now if this offends any organic gardeners reading this - I am a novice, and it is too disheartening to see my lovely little seedlings being so systematically munched by these pesky slimy things.

The aphids are rife, but allowed to survive. They especially like the leaves on the Middle Girl's nasturtium plants. She is excited, because (thanks to school, not me) she knows aphids attract lady birds, as they are the favourite food of the pretty spotty beetles, apparently.

Gertie has started influencing our dinner plates already. I've trained the girls to cut the big leaves of rocket and spinach and then wash them ready for the table. Last night, I eased my guilt at giving them a meal entirely of oven chips, hash browns and sausages, by adding green stuff from Gertie and (get this) nasturtium flowers!

The sight of all these things on one plate really made me giggle inside.

The flower tasting had also been initiated by the Middle Girl. For the fussiest eater in the house, it is astonishing what a bit of pride over your own home grown flowers can inspire you to be willing to try.

The verdict? Quite tasty.

Carrots are looking all pretty in the morning sunshine.

The potatoes are a slight source of worry. I may have overdone it and squished too many into one space. Who knew they would grow that big. I have no idea how I will harvest them!

The girls enjoyed painting some pine cones to brighten up Gertie. They did this just a couple of months ago, when she was just barren looking soil. Hard to believe now that she is a sprawling green mass.

The first lot of beans I planted failed to make an appearance. I think I got sold some duffers! I planted some more straight into the soil about a month later, and also at the same time let each girl plant seeds into a jam jar to watch them grow. The jam jar seeds were the biggest success, and this is what they look like now.

Ginger Skirt (Joel Dewberry fabric)
Gertie has influenced my fashion sense - and, got me watching Monty Don. Last Friday, while babysitting round at my friend Annabel's house, I was strangely pleased to switch the TV on and discover Gardeners' World was just starting. Monty's jobs for the weekend slot at the end of the programme made me think to truss the potatoes up a bit - hopefully that'll let my poor tomatoes and beans get a bit of light and catch up on the growing race.

That's it on the Gertie update for now. I hope I haven't bored you too much with the completely off sewing topic post. According to my friend Sarah (who is a self-confessed Eco Warrier), you can carry on planting things until midsummer's day. I honestly don't think I can squeeze anything else into Gertie now. But perhaps some sunflowers to start off in pots on the kitchen windowsill, with a view to the front garden might be nice...?

And on that note, bye bye for now. I hope you are enjoying some sunshine, too!


  1. Really enjoyed reading this. This is the first time I've ever grown anything and it was joyous digging up my early potatoes on Sunday for dinner. I also have strawberries, cucumber, beans, courgettes, toms, peppers & chilli. (We luckily inherited a greenhouse with our new house). It's such great fun watching things grow! We have slugs & snails too, grrrr.

    1. Wow! That is a brilliant selection. It is fun, isn't it? I keep popping out to check on Gertie's progress - there is always something new to notice.

  2. everytime I try and grow things, it just doesn't work! you and your girls must have green fingers!

    1. I think we're just taking a stick as many things in the soil as possible and some grow approach- complete amateurs with not much idea what we're doing! :)