I worry that following on from a guest post about 'disappointment' I am going to give the impression gardeners are woefully unhappy with their hobby and this is not the case, more that we get attached to our gardens as one might a dog or even a house. So when something goes wrong it feels like utter devastation – when actually it's only a plant that has died and you can grow another next year and all will be well again.
Things have trotted along well in my veg patch this year.
The usual highs and lows – excellent carrots with no carrot fly and copious amounts of runner and French beans, on the other hand low yield of the normally productive courgettes and unusual amounts of caterpillars to contend with. But all this is a happy balance I can go along with (anyway no one likes those people with perfect vegetables of every variety who brag, sometimes known as liers).
But having decided to go big on the tomato front this year, growing three varieties from seed, I was a bit more than upset when I saw them being slowing ravaged by blight three or four weeks ago. I suspected it was the evil disease as some of the leaves yellowed and withered on two of the plants, but hoped it was the wind and rain. Then came the black spots and dying stems and I knew it was inevitable. It spread to all the plants eventually and they were on their way to death row.
I decided to let them hang on for dear life and in fact many good tomatoes ripened and were delicious, but this weekend the time came to cut my losses and throw the wilting, pathetic plants away, chopping off as many green tomatoes as I could.
The one variety I desperately wanted to taste – an heirloom beefsteak tomato called Brandywine which is said have a wonderful taste and texture – never did ripen at all. That was probably the most upsetting. All eight plants went into the bin – I stared at their empty pots on the patio and I thought 'this is the guest post I will have to blog for Tom – sorrow for my tomatoes'. Melodramatic, over-the-top, self indulgent? Maybe, but true I am afraid.
I'm feeling slightly cheered however having made a wonderful chutney out of the green tomatoes and some of my courgettes along with a host of other fruit and vegetables. It is a fitting tribute, I feel it is what the plants would have wanted.
Claire's sorrow is the latest in a series of guest posts about emotions kicked off by gardening. Check out the Guest Bed page for some excellent takes on Love, Disappointment and Frustration. Book out your Fridays for more revelations from the heart and soul - I have some treats lined up. And do read Claire's blog about all things food, with some great recipes for the veg you grow - I can definitely recommend the broad bean risotto, beans being one of my few successes in the garden this year. Just don't forget the mint like I did!