Monday, 4 June 2007

Fishing and gardening?

I'm Gordon Mills. I'm 50 and so is my lovely wife Sandra.

We recently sold our house and moved from the big city (Dundee) thats in Scotland, to a wee rented cottage between Forfar and Montrose. Sandra is a senior staff nurse at Ninewells hospital in Dundee. I was recently made redundant as the multi-storey car park which I was helping to construct was finished and no other work was available in my area. So at the moment I am unemployed. Fortunately Sandra earns like large so its not a problem at the moment and we still have some money from the sale of the house.

I'm using this spare time to get the garden in order. The house and ground that we rent is huge as in 50mtrs by 150mtrs. The previous tenant used the ground as a sort of car breakers yard, buying and selling cars, breaking them up for spares etc. It was an incredible mess.

We did our best to tidy it up, cut the grass, planted flowers, shrubs etc but it was a massive undertaking for a working couple.

Last autumn, I think, once the landlord ( a farmer) realised that we were interested in tidying up the place he employed a landscaper to give the ground a basic shape, and put in paths and larch borders around the flower beds and a small vegetable garden. We were to take it from there...........

Sandra does the flowers and shrubs and stuff and I do the veg. We sort of share the grass cutting and tidying up.

I had a go last year but was basically clueless. I never put in manure, I left it too stoney, I planted too closely, I planted whole packets of seeds at once, I made every mistake that you can make with a vegetable garden. We had pestilence on a major scale with snails, slugs, caterpillars, afyds, rabbits you name it we had it

The only thing that was a success was the broad beans. 40 plants with hundreds of pods and millions of beans. We perhaps ate about 2lbs of them and gave the rest away. I think we also had half a dozen radishes and a few shallots. I was telling a guy at work how chuffed I was with the broad beans and he said ' awa min ye kid grow they in gravel' cheers Dunc!

This year things are different. This year I read books about allotment growing, general vegetable gardening and tried to work out how I went wrong. Living this far north and at this height (600ft above sea level) you need a greenhouse to get your plants started. Seeds put in the ground in March lie dormant till May or forever.

So the lady next door to my mother in law decided she did not want her greenhouse any more, and asked her if she knew anyone who would dismantle and remove it for her. She gave me a call to ask if I wanted it, I almost bit her hand off. I went down next day and dismantled it piece by piece, pane by pane. I was stacking the glass against a huge terra cotta pot and as I carefully placed the last pane the whole bloody lot went down breaking 8 panes. Pane in the arse I thought. The local glazier no kidding, his name is Doug Glass, replaced them for me @ £2.50 each so £20 for that ballsup.

Next was decide where to put it and went for the south east corner of the garden. There are two rowan trees here that would provide some shade and shelter from the south easterly winds. I made a concrete base and with a little help from our youngest son it was built. I couldnt wait to get started so off to B&Q for some pots and seeds. At the moment I have cucumber, courgette, chilli, capsicum, sweet corn, gourds (marrows) swiss chard, coriander, rosemary and chives in the greenhouse, and broad beans, runner beans, turnips, Swedes, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, calabresse, red onion, white onion, shallots red, white and French, springonion and Romano lettuce.
Its all going well, I,ll keep in touch.

No comments: