This wasn't supposed to happen...

I think I may have created a problem for myself with the seeds I have just planted. I’m worried that when they grow up into big tasty plants they might look a little – how can I say this – right wing. Let me explain.

I’ve got a couple of square raised beds at the bottom of the garden. For a few years now I’ve been growing vegetables in nice straight lines, but this year I thought I’d try something a little different.

Feeling adventurous, I planted my garlic in a cross in one bed, and my onion sets in the same shape in the next door bed. Nice structural veggies, they’ll form elegant dividing lines in the beds. So far, so good.

Next I planted various salad seeds and some beetroot, different seeds for each quarter of the bed. These I planted in straight lines, but for a bit of variety I switched the direction of said lines so that the veggies in the NE and SW quadrants will grow horizontally while the SE and NW ones will grow vertically. Sweet, I thought. This is going to look pretty good.

But then I got to thinking about the pattern that will emerge. And this is where I start to get a tad nervous. Try sketching out the lines and you see what I mean. Uh huh, that’s right.

It looks just like a swastika.

I appear to have inadvertently planted some vegetables in homage to Adolf Hitler.

Not good. But luckily I noticed in time to prevent myself doing the same thing in the other bed. This time I congratulated myself by not going for straight lines, instead opting for diagonals, with the lines all pointing in to the middle.

But then I had a think about this one too. And you see, a cross with diagonal lines on top of it, well that’s basically a Union flag. Not so bad by itself – a little odd I guess, but harmless – but stick your Union flag next to a swastika and all of a sudden you look like a deranged BNP nutcase who is so obsessed wtih fascism that he grows his vegetables in the shape of Nazi symbols.

This is not good. I’m telling myself that hey, the salad leaves are bushy and planted pretty close together, and I’ve messed the seeds up a little so the lines aren’t that straight.

So no one will notice, right? Still, next time I might sketch out the plans before I sow anything.

Lesson learnt.


A couple of packets of seeds

So what shall I grow? And where?

For the last few years I’ve had a little vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden and I’ve grown various fruit and veg.  But now I’ve got an allotment all sorts of other things need to be considered.

On the one hand, space is no longer such an issue and I can grow my beloved squashes without worrying about their taking over the garden (as they have done in the past). But on the other hand, we eat salad most days and am I really going to go down to the allotment to pick a few salad leaves? Or a bunch of herbs?

Clearly I’m going to have to give this some thought…

Here, in no particular order, is today’s long list of things to grow (with the caveat that I will have changed my mind tomorrow…):

Salad leaves




Broad beans






French beans

Borlotti beans


Herbs (basil, parsley, tarragon, chervil, coriander, probably some others)








An enormous pumpkin


Globe artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes

I think that’s about it. But as I say, it’ll change tomorrow. So, the next job is to figure out where to put it all.

Some of the decisions are fairly easy; the aubergines and peppers won’t be very happy outside the greenhouse, and I’m far too lazy to walk to the end of the road for a sprig of parsley. I’m not digging up the rhubarb, so that’s staying in the garden.

But then it starts to get a bit more complicated. We use loads of onions, so maybe I should keep them in the garden. But they’re very low maintenance, so they’d be quite happy being ignored down the allotment for days on end. Hmmm.

And what about the courgettes? They’ll take over the garden if I let them, so they should definitely go to the allotment, where they’ll be free to roam far and wide. But then if I turn my back for five minutes those crunchy little baby courgettes will grow into two foot long marrows and that’s no good. Into the back garden, then?

This is going to require some serious thought. Time to sharpen the pencil and draw up some plans.

On the ipod while thinking: The Fratellis / Chelsea Dagger

Chorus sounds like a pub singalong, but none the worse for that

The view from the bathroom window

Ok, so it’s a little early to be thinking about planting anything in the vegetable patch. There is, after all, a six foot snowman gently melting on the lawn.

But it’s good to have something to look forward to, and all this crappy weather is making me impatient for the growing season. Normally I’d wait until the middle of this month but a bunch of seeds arrived in the post and that, combined with the extravagence of a brand new heated propagator (of which more later), has led inexorably to the arrival of 10 small pots looking for a home.

I’ve started with some tomatoes (harbinger left over from last year and new-for-2009 buissonante), mini aubergines “orlando F1” and the rather more exotic mexican tomatillo (Physalis Ixocarpa) – in case I ever feel the need to make an authentic salsa.

They’re currently sitting on the bathroom window upstairs, relatively warm and reasonably safe from the prying hands of three small boys. They’ll be fine with a little water and some regular turning to stop them tilting towards the light too much. And in a couple of months they’ll make the short trip to the bottom of the garden where they will take up residence in the greenhouse.

In the meantime Ive got about a week to find a home for the 16 pots that went into the propagator yesterday…

On the i-pod while planting: The Jesus and Mary Chain / Sowing Seeds.

It had to be really, didn’t it?