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Surrender

August 11, 2020

It’s official. I give up. I absolutely, completely, totally give up.

One evening a while ago I had some lovely, garden-grown pole beans with my dinner. Grown in my garden, you ask? No. The first time I tried growing pole beans was a couple of years ago. There were lots of beans and (as my friend Irmani can attest) they were delicious. Lots of yummy beans again last summer. This summer? Not so much. In fact, not at all. Like Jack’s beanstalk, they keep growing and growing but have yet to produce a single bloody flower, let alone a fucking bean.

Those beans I had for dinner recently? Those were from TJ’s garden. Tomato Jan has lots of beans – so many she’s giving them away.

Remember those tomato plants she gave me back in May? Well, I have to say, there are dozens of tiny tomatoes on the cherry tomato plants. The same plants in TJ’s garden have hundreds of cherry tomatoes. Oh, and the plum tomato plants she gave me? Hers have dozens and dozens of plum tomatoes. Between them, the four plants she gave me have so far produced five plum tomatoes. (There was a sixth, but it fell off long, long before ripening, during the recent heavy rain.) So much for needing a tomato sauce recipe. Oh, and her tomato plants are at least three times bigger than mine.

Courgettes? The first time I grew them a few years ago I had so many I had to start making soup with them. Fortunately the recipe I found was so delicious I was happy to make and eat it all summer. Since then, not so much. I’m not sure there’s been a summer when there have been enough courgettes at any given time to actually make the soup. This year? Well, this year the two courgette plants I bought continue to produce flowers regularly but not one flower has produced an actual courgette. (When I mention this to TJ she asks me if the flowers are male or female. I just gape at her. What? Apparently male flowers don’t produce. There are male flowers and female flowers? Seriously, what the fuck? I suppose any halfway decent gardener would know this. That takes me out of the running.)

Oh, and there hasn’t been a single rose on any of the ten bushes since June.

I am going backwards.

I give up.

Okay, I had lots of lovely strawberries in June. And the strawberries are starting to flower again, bless ’em. A handful of raspberries, despite buying three new plants. Not a single blueberry. (Okay, there were quite a few on one of the new bushes before some phantom got to them.) Not a single black currant.

I did have a nice crop of peas and should get another one in before it gets cold. And I did have quite a few lettuces.

It’s time to face facts. There are some people, like TJ (with her greenhouse and sun-on-it-all-day-long garden) who are meant to grow fruit and veg and flowers. And then there’s me: hapless, hopeless and an almost complete failure.

Ten years ago, when I first began my efforts to turn this corner of the property into a proper garden, the sun cleared the trees around 11:30 in the morning and remained on the garden until sunset. In the intervening decade the trees have grown (as they do) and now the sun isn’t properly on the garden until one in the afternoon. I’d like to think this is why I’m going backwards, why my cherry tomato plants only grow to half the size they used to grow, why there are fewer and fewer raspberries and courgettes every year, why most of the rose bushes have given up flowering.

I’d like to think that, but I know it isn’t true. The fact of the matter, clearly, is that I am cursed.

I give up.

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