Portrait picture of a garden with lawn, raised beds, and mature trees

From cactus killer to amateur gardener

It’s apparently not easy to dispatch a cactus, but some years ago I managed, inadvertently of course.

Yet, brushing aside my apparent inability to care for hardy succulents, and seeing as I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, when we moved house last year I found myself the proud owner of a large garden that was going to need a significant amount of attention.

And as I’m frequently contrary and rather thran, challenge accepted.

Benefits of working from home

The great thing about working from home is that instead of spending lunchtimes seeking out the last communal fork in the office (true story), I can do something a little more constructive with my time.

In fact, since starting my own business, in between writing words of course, I’ve learnt to make jam and pasta, as well as bake bread and croissants; although, it’s fair to say laminating dough took a bit of time — and several attempts — to master.

A few croissants cooling on a wire tray

My freshly baked croissants

So riding that gastronomic, or gluttonous, wave of success, I decided to make our new garden much more useful by growing vegetables and herbs.

Feast or famine?

From main crop potatoes to beetroot, pea pods to carrots, who knows what will survive my clumsy, and no doubt intermittent care.

It’s not that I’m a daftie (you don’t need green fingers to write good copy, after all) — I’m just a toonser who hasn’t had a proper garden to look after, until now.

But so far, so good.

All my beds are ready for planting over the next few weeks, with some lettuce and fennel already sprouting inside in a seed tray.

Fully constructed raised bed with fertiliser

Two hours and two drill bits in – raised bed success

Early lessons include anticipating two hours, not 20 minutes, for building a raised bed (incidentally you need to make sure the drill bit’s in properly or you might break one — or two — of them); and chitting a seed potato means sticking it in an egg box and waiting for the tubers to grow. Thanks, Google.

Also, don’t expect to be able to move much without a nagging pain the morning after a full day spent gardening.

Chitting potatoes in egg boxes

Chitting my main crop Desiree potatoes

Over the coming weeks, I’ll post updates on my gardening efforts, unless they fail, then I’ll likely post nothing….; meanwhile, feel free to share any of your gardening tips.

Trust me, I’ll need them.