Let me present to you the pride and joy of the clutterpunk garden, the cream of the harvest so far this year:
Yes, that's it all right. A stumpy, warty-looking zucchini.
Anyone want a bite?
We have a way to go before we are dining out on homegrown food here. Since moving out of our two-bedroom, no-garden flat six months ago, team clutterpunk have harboured lofty ideals of 'living off the land'.
Actually, our ideals aren't that lofty. We're not planning to become survivalists, but we do want to gain some gardening skills, spend time outdoors as a family and grow at least some of our own edibles. And given that my previous record with plants reads 'herbicide by neglect', I figure it's going to take some time to get the hang of things.
Our garden has an inner-urban Mediterranean heritage, with an 'Italian Lawn' (otherwise known as cement). So we've gone with a raised no-dig veggie garden. Ours came from the lovely guys at the Little Veggie Patch Co. Sadly, our first plant-out was disastrous (so sorry, Jon and Mat - our fault entirely). We've replanted for winter and have higher hopes for our garlic, leeks, onions, beets and swedes.
I guess, when you tend towards learning by intuition or feel as I do, mistakes are the way you learn. We inherited these lovely old laundry tubs, but have since learned about the necessity of adequate drainage - hence the mildewed zucchini.
So we punched a heap of holes into the bucket o' rocket, and that seems to be thriving. Drainage... check! And now we need to learn about planting in succession rather than tipping the whole bunch of seeds in at once.
Well, it's going to be one fine week of rocket when it happens!
But the failures are hardly failures. There is much pleasure to be had just in the process of creating and tending a garden. With the little bits of learning and activity and beauty it provides, the actual productivity is fairly secondary to us. A few months back the boys spent an afternoon with their Grandma exuberantly planting beans willy nilly throughout our containers. Who knows what they will produce, but it's a delight to see them climbing up the fence and spilling out of the herb pots.
And if nothing else ever takes off, we do have this glorious, heavily-laden lemon tree, poking through its hole in the cement. God bless the Italian migrant population.
Even with just the lemons and a handful of productive herb plants, I feel almost giddy with the potential of it all. I can dress salads! I can flavour pasta dishes and garnish pizza! I can make lemon cordial and lemon curd and put zest into everything! Imagine what I might feel like if anything else takes? Positively self-sufficient!
And now I might go and julienne that zucchini. Or grate it directly into the compost. Either way, I think my thumb is definitely looking just that little bit greener.