Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Kitchen Gardens and Garden Kitchens

Sometimes the decision to nurture a particular plant can cause all kinds of problems at home. Take cucumbers, for example. Harmless enough, you may think, but you try growing some on your windowsill and see what it does for marital harmony.

The non-windowsill version
I, sadly, fell into the window-cucumber trap when I was given a few plants by a commercial grower one winter. Not wishing to heat my greenhouse, I lovingly arranged my cucumber collection along our kitchen windowsill. As the weeks went by and the window vanished behind a forest of lush foliage, I reassured myself that a bumper out-of-season crop of cucumbers would more than compensate for the complete lack of natural light in our home. It didn't - and I was obliged to promise never to grow greenhouse crops on our windowsills ever again; a pledge which placed me rather uncomfortably on the horns of a dilemma.

You see, I adore growing and eating yellow peppers, which is all very well if you have somewhere warm to plant them; but I don't since we moved to Norfolk. Nonetheless, I sowed a few seeds on the off-chance that they might not germinate; but they did. At this point, I considered applying to The Council for permission to erect a greenhouse (our home is hundreds of years old and we are listed, so we need consent); but when this is the state of the roof you are hoping to put over your family's head, greenhouses are not a top priority.

So I quietly moved my handsome pepper plants to a cottage in the garden which cannot be let for holidays this year as we are converting the threshing barn. Incredibly, despite an appalling summer, this happened! 

Suddenly I was blessed with a happy family barbecuing glorious yellow peppers in the garden. Lo and behold, my beloved garden had become a kitchen! So why shouldn't the kitchen be my garden? Indeed, my family even enjoyed the luxury of sitting at a table to eat in my precious garden! Therefore surely, in the spirit of fairness, a few bulbs decorating the dining room table shouldn't be a problem.

Perhaps I need to speak to The Council about a greenhouse.... and a potting shed.... and, if these don't get into the soil very soon, a doghouse wouldn't go amiss.