Gardening is unspeakably disgusting!
But – I now realise – that’s the secret to its success That’s why all these ancient rural types with their walking sticks and their loaded-up medicine trays have zucchini the size of planets and tomatoes you can practically see from space. I discovered this the other day when I spent an hour of my paid cleaning time assisting an elderly friend with her seed planting.
All this time, I’ve been trying to grow stuff in dirt, more or less, thinking that’s what plants like. But vegetables are the primping, flouncing prima donnas of flora – they demand no less than the plant equivalent of champagne and caviar for breakfast. No wonder mine have been refusing to grow up.
My friend has an old bathtub filled to the brim with rotted vegetable bits and clippings, covered with old carpet. This fetid heaven is inhabited by hundreds of slimy brown things. When she wants to plant stuff, she grabs half a bucket of this and fills the other half with potting mix (with her bare hands, I might add), and lays it down in the garden like a bear skin rug for spoilt seedlings to luxuriate upon.
This ‘garden’ consists of the shell of an old tin water tank (which is what pretty much everyone uses down here – it brings the soil level up to waist height, just where you want it when you can’t bend over). There is no actual dirt in it, as such – it’s all compost and cow manure.
Finally, the watering. You think these plants drink water? Oh no, these green-coiffed Mariah Careys are too good for mere water – what they demand is Jus de Worm. This – a yellowish liquid – is harvested from a bucket under, presumably, what used to be the plughole of the bath tub. I have no idea if it’s worm pee, liquefied worm, or something worse – but Mariah loves it.
So now I know what I’ve been doing wrong. Trying to grow my own vegetables. From now on, I”ll just steal hers. Ha ha.
On a more positive note, I’ve been completely self-sufficient in green beans this last 3 weeks. Also, my garden is teeming with things that look edible – but I have no idea what they are. For instance this thing with the three-pronged leaves…
and the yellow-flowered trollop pictured in the header?????
Finally, the recipe of the week, Anything Loaf. Not to be confused with bread, which is temperamental, time-consuming and arduous (and therefore NOT included in my forthcoming book Recipes for People Who Are Lazy and Hate Cooking).
To make Anything Loaf, mix Any Sort of the following: sugar (amount depending how sweet your tooth is), self-raising flour, butter/substitute, milk/pretend milk, and one to three eggs.
To this mix, add something you like – raisins, nuts, dried fruit, squashed banana, grated apple, viagra, etc.
The trick is to end up with something that’s roughly like porridge, or scrambled eggs – kinda wet, but not so wet you’d drink it out of a cocktail glass. Sludge the mixture into a greased loaf tin, bake at 180 degrees, and it’s ready when it smells ready and you can do the old ‘stake the vampire’ trick. That is, stick a knife in and it comes out clean.