Grow Your Own
Has anyone else really got into the big ‘grow your own’ push lately? I’ve always loved gardening, and for two blissful but short years had the loan of an allotment and did the vegetable thing then. But for most of the time we’ve had our own home, we’ve been a bit lacking in the garden department. We have a postage stamp front garden, half of which I turned from an overgrown car port into a mad jumble of cottage garden faithfuls, delphiniums cheek by blossoming jowl with roses, clematis, granny’s bonnet and cat mint. The other half is…. fallow. *looks embarrassed*. Yes, that’s what we’ll call it. It’s lying fallow…
But this year, I’ve really gone for the vegetables in containers thing. I have courgettes (zucchinis) in a galvanised trough, tomatoes in a window box propped up on logs, lettuces anywhere I can find a space, and potatoes in some specially bought extra-deep bags. The potatoes are already going great guns, although no-one seems to have told the FIRST earlies that they’re supposed to be farther on than the SECOND earlies… the main crop potatoes know their place, though, and are following on in sedate fashion, secure in the knowledge they won’t be harvested until late summer/early autumn. Occasionally I can be found in the back yard, going, “STOP growing so fast! I’m running out of compost!” at the potato bags.
And then there are the herbs. Now herbs are not a new departure for me, far from it. That front cottage garden patch has marjoram, parsley, mint, sage and chives. The thyme’s never quite lasted through our soggy winters, though. Now in the back I’ve planted more sage, more marjoram, and three different thymes. I’ve also decided to risk sowing coriander, a herb I use a bunch of (no pun intended) in summer, but I’ve never had a lot of luck with annual herbs…
(STOP PRESS – my bad luck continues. I was in the kitchen when I heard Husband mutter, “I can’t believe we’ve got weeds germinating in here already…” Although I flew out the door, and risked my neck across the slippery sandstone flags, I wasn’t quick enough to stop him ‘weeding’ the new sprouts of coriander. Back to the ol’ drawing board. On the plus side, we fell about the place laughing…)
I’ve always avoided doing a lot of container vegetable gardening, because of the maintenance. Feed and water, keep an eye on pests, treat organically when they show up. I know how easy it is for a plant to get stressed if it’s had to wait an extra day for a good soak, and then suddenly you’re picking aphids out of your salad have a really successful slug farm. I thought I didn’t have time, and probably couldn’t be relied on. I hated the thought of plants lacking care, and going to waste.
So I didn’t grow any plants.
I’m spotting a familiar refrain, here.
You see, I know first hand that it’s very easy to avoid the things you’re afraid you’ll fail at. It’s easy to keep on polishing that manuscript instead of submitting it. Easy to carry on writing the things you KNOW you can do, when you really, really want to write that something different.
It’s easy to say, “this book will be rejected, so I’m not going to try.”
Dangerous Lies was very nearly the vegetable that was never grown. Somehow, in spite of the protestations of critique partners, I’d convinced myself that it sucked. It took a great read from the wonderful Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer’s Scheme, and a few other little kicks up the backside, to convince me it was worth a try. I submitted it, and it sold on proposal, a few weeks later.
So what are you going to ‘Grow Your Own’ of, in the garden, or in your life? Leave a comment, and I’ll pick a winner to receive a signed copy of Dangerous Lies!
Anna Louise Lucia’s latest book, Dangerous Lies, is out now. “Marianne Forster was only spending time with a gorgeous man in the hot sun of Morocco. It wasn’t anything more than that… until she was kidnapped on the way home.”
All About Romance awarded Dangerous Lies an ‘A’ review, and their ‘Desert Isle Keeper’ status, saying, “Holy golly Moses. I’ve never put a publishing company on my auto buy list, but if this is what Medallion is putting out, considering the other recent stellar reviews here at AAR, I might just have to change my mind.”