I love this time of year. Not because the weather is glorious and the garden looks better every week (although it is and it does). No, I love this time of year because every day we’re eating food from our garden. Even if it’s just a simple salad, the ability to nip out into the garden and rustle up a meal from the muddy colander I return with is pretty special.
Mainly, I love summer because we hardly ever need to go food shopping. I really hate shopping. (The exception being car boot sales and charity shops, which present the kind of challenge a competitive gal like me enjoys.) Shoe shopping is a grind. Clothes shopping is a bore, unless I’m flush and can afford to grace the likes of Jigsaw, which never happens. And shopping for jeans is a special kind of torture invented only for women.
But food shopping is the absolute pits. I hate the supermarket above all else. (Is it me or is supermarket shopping only fun when you have literally nothing to get and you’re just wandering around to keep a friend or your mum company? It’s great, fingering items I have no intention of buying and popping biscuits in the trolley when no one is looking.)
Because we only go to the supermarket, Kaufland, every six weeks or so (it’s a 50-mile round trip), we always end up with a pretty full trolley. Bulgarians never fill up their trolley, partly because they’re thriftier than us, but also because they probably go shopping far more regularly. So, while I’m steering a trolley that looks like a mad woman’s entry on Supermarket Sweep (minus the inflatable guitars), everyone else’s trolleys are empty, apart from four cabbages. Then they all stare at us like we’re a) greedy and b) ridiculously rich. I want to say to everyone I encounter, ‘Look, I know it’s a lot, but I haven’t been here for six weeks. Stop looking at me like that. Seriously, STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.’ And it’s like that every time we go shopping. And, AND! (I’m getting more furious as I write), we have to pay through the nose for the privilege. Honestly, the prices in Kaufland make Waitrose look like Kwik Save.
Well, that turned into a bit of an anti-supermarket diatribe. Sorry about that. But you get the idea: cutting down on the food shopping is always welcome.
Right now, we’re harvesting plenty of kale, spinach, radishes, beetroot, courgettes and loads of herbs. Enough to make a light meal every day. And today we pulled up our garlic crop – 30 triumphant heads of garlic, some of them almost as big as my fist. We eat garlic like it’s going out of fashion, so this bounty won’t last us all year, but it should see us into winter. First it needs to dry in the sun for a few weeks before we can bring it in and store it. Then it’s Garlic City, baby (first stop: Aioli Avenue), and woe betide anyone who should look at me funny in the supermarket. I’ll simply blow them down with the impressive power of my garlic breath.
And all our work on the flower garden – or Operation Let’s Pretty Shit Up Around Here, as I like to call it – is starting to pay off, as evidenced in this week’s edition of Photos from a Gardening Bore. I promise to write about something else next week. Maybe.
|The honeysuckle on this arch has just finished flowering but it was
heavenly to walk through every day.
|This is the round bed we added last year. It’s filling up nicely but looks a bit
like a mad old lady’s garden (which I secretly love).
|Big ole floppy cupid’s dart.
|Berkheya purpurea, apparently.
|I have a bit of a thing for ugly flowers. Ugly flowers and ugly shoes. These spiky
sea hollies are just starting to turn blue.
|Hollyhocks starting to flower, and a GIANT white gladioli in the
background. It’s taller than me.
|Lovely smelling sweet peas.
|This is not a flower. This is a tomato plant. Progress in the wonky polytunnel continues apace.