Scary stories from a lovely place
Gardening really is one tiny step forward, ten enormous steps back. I am frequently disappointed with my gardening results. It doesn’t help that I’m notoriously impatient and would love seedlings to grow and bloom and reproduce within a 72 hour period. But it’s not all about the final product, it is so much about the process and the work. Gardening is such a beautiful form of therapy.
Sometimes, though, there are wonderful moments in the garden. The other afternoon I listlessly tugged at some leaves in a long neglected patch of beetroot and weeds. And these bad boys emerged.
We eat a lot of beetroot in our house. We bake it, boil it or stick it in salad. Silas asks me to send it with him to preschool. He ate it by the chubby handful alongside ricotta and tuna as a 9 month old in Johannesburg. With this in mind I enthusiastically tried to grow row upon row in our tiny garden in Brixton. But I was far too zealous, and read somewhere that the greens can be used like spinach so I stripped each plant of its leaves at every opportunity and cooked them in quiche and with pasta and on pizza. It was lovely, but the beets themselves had no chance.
Last Autumn I longed to keep growing cucumbers and zucchini and pumpkin and tomato but knew they wouldn’t ripen. So I turned to the leaves – kale and spinach and leeks and bok choi. And then some beets. But I didn’t clip any of their greens to make pink pesto. I left them be.
Today I pulled the rest of them up, turned the soil, added some compost and planted some zucchini seedlings. I feel vindicated. It’s a tiny step forward, but a victorious and delicious one.