Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Not So Constant Gardener

My sunshine is back and I have been having a spate of useful tasks takeover my imagination and fill my days. Yesterday grocery shopping led to me buying a pork shoulder roast on sale. Only I am sick and tired of roasts every Sunday by this time of year. Apologies to all those who revel in the Englishness of all that tradition. When the weather cools in the autumn and the days grow shorter I am all for the long slow roasted chunk of pork emitting lovely smells through the house. But now my body feels the warmth of spring sunshine and it starts craving a barbeque.

I know - way to soon as it is still only March. But I set to carving up that chunk of pork shoulder with a vengeance. The nice lean bit I found got cut into half inch slices to be pounded into schnitzels when the mood strikes at a later date. The rest I cubed. Then I made a Greek style marinade, redolent with lemon, oregano and garlic and popped half the cubed pork in, poured the lot into a freezer bag and sealed it. The remaining meat went into a teriyaki marinade and then the three sealed packages went into the freezer. When that first barbeque gets lit I am ready. Skewers are waiting to pierce that meat and the bag of coals leftover from last year has my name on it.

Other stuff has been happening but it comes under the heading 'mundane' so I shall not go on about it, but I have been ever so efficient (for me) the past two days. I pat myself on the shoulder in praise. Not even a moment of procrastinating - simply amazing!

Today, once I was home from the Banbury shopping/errands and dance class (for Emily not me - goodness I am the world's least coordinated person), I had a new bee in my bonnet. I was going to plant tomato seeds so that they could start sprouting on my utility room window sill. I even made room for them there and shocked my husband into silence by - brace yourself - dusting it. (I hate dusting, just for the record.)

I found seeds - pumpkin seeds, carrot seeds, basil seeds, courgette seeds, broad bean seeds, a myriad of flower seeds and more - but not one single solitary tomato seed. Why? I am sure that I had/have some but obviously I am either wrong or I 'put them somewhere else'. So I set about sorting out the garage. I moved things, tidied things, ruthlessly put things in the trash - but still no tomato seeds.

So here I am. I have six big plant pots all moved into a new location and tidied up for the future little tomato plants when they go outside. I have eight tiny plant pots filled with potting soil, ready and waiting for seeds. Tomorrow I shall go to the garden centre. At least that is my activity for the Sunday sorted.

Since I can't stun you with my amazing organisation skills and ability to have everything where I need it when I need it I shall show you  my chili plant instead. The plant that refuses to die. Look, have you ever seen such a pathetic sight in your life?

But I can't throw it out because every time I get ready to it produces some new leaves, a flower or two and then another chili. It was a luscious, big, green plant last summer. All leafy and full of chillies. Just what you want from a chili plant. Now, well now it is almost an embarrassment. But if you look you will see one semi dried chili, a just about perfectly ripe one and a green one. You can't see the two baby ones just starting out. I am just not a vicious enough person to throw out a plant that is fruiting. Maybe if I was a better gardener I would be more practical but I am just so proud that the chili plant we grew from seed actually bestowed proper chillies upon us I keep it there by my kitchen sink so it can mock me with its sparse growth every day. How sad is that?!!

Makes you wonder why I am even going to the garden centre tomorrow to buy tomato seeds. Who knows what they will do to me? Last time we had a champion tomato crop summer ended early and I had a bushel full of green tomatoes. I was giving friends jars of green tomato chutney forever after that. I am a sucker for punishment - but I am sure I will be bragging to you and showing photos of little tomato plants in a month or two and once again be convinced that this is the year I get it right. I am sure that you can all have a giggle when it all goes wrong later in the year. If you do I shall send you a jar of my chutney. Be warned.


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