• Sofias Country Gardens

On epic failure and small success


Blessed are the gardeners who always succeed, but I'm just not one of them. Sometimes things just don't work out as planned. Sometimes, even with the best of care, good intentions and hard work - we just fail. In todays success driven culture failure is the pits. How dare I call myself a gardener if my blog isn't only filled with abundance and perfection? Well, I do. Because trial an error has been how I learn, and through my most epic failures I learn what not to do and what doesn't work for me.

This year I got a new cabbage butterfly net. Firstly I was irritated as I had ordered too little of the net, and had to fill up the end of the bed with fleece. Bummer. It's much prettier than the ugly white fleece I normally use to keep cabbage butterfly away, and it does work for them. I haven't had one white butterfly or fat, big green larvae on my plants. But, secondly, I didn't recon with the small ninja pests that are invisible to the eye yet munch their way through the whole crop like an army of zombies. Instead of a bumper crop of broccoli, I got a few tiny little heads before the whole crop was destroyed.

I kept looking out for whatever it was that was eating my broccoli and cauliflower, but even though the tiny little grey butterflies or moths are clearly visible I couldn't really discern the larvae they produce. Not even Boomer who helps me in the garden could find them, and he is a very good gardener for sure! It was only when I was washing the failed surviving florets that I found these little buggs, and with about a million of them spread out I dec idea too give up on this years harvest and plant mangold for an autumn crop in between the cauliflower plants instead. Next year I shall go back to the old fleece net, having learned that beauty isn't everything! I still refuse to use any form of pesticides in my garden, and settle for feeding the compost with my failed crop.

Elsewhere in the kitchen garden things are finally looking up. The Purple rain blue potatoes are giving a fair - although not exactly abundant - crop and at least the nectar flowers I plant in the end of the raised beds are thriving. I love to share my vegetable beds with the pollinators in my own version of pottage style gardening.

My favourite climbing Blauwshocker peas and Express broad beens are also starting to yield a good harvest, although I must say that they are later than normal in the season. I think it was the bitterly cold spells we had in May that kept the earth temperature so cool long into June that delayed their growth. Never mind, I'm just happy for the small successes this year! I often serve the beens and peas mixed together, just boiled lightly and with a simple dressing of olive oil, garlic and salt.

My beetroot are also coming along, although not as abundantly yet as last year. Still, there are always things to be grateful for. My darling daughter gave me a beautiful wheelbarrow for my birthday that she had spent hours spray painting pale pink and decorated with flowers and a dragonfly. Each time I'm out in the garden it fills my heart with joy simply to look at it.

Although I have gotten a first crop of Atomic red carrots, I had to resow them for an autumn harvest as only a third of what I planted actually came up. Now there are little seedling carrots sprouting up through the earth, and I hope they survive and give me some comfort late in the season.

Well, all in all we will get food from my own garden on the table this year too. My salad has succeeded beyond imagination and I'm happy there is something homegrown to serve when inviting friends over for dinner. I hope your garden is a better success story this season!