Sharp Blue: Photoautotrophs


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Since I returned to Bristol, I’ve grown some herbs and vegetables each summer. The first few years, I took over the conservatory as an ersatz greenhouse, filling it full of sweet pepper plants. In each successive year, I’ve tried to grow a wider range of plants. This hasn’t been an entirely successful stategy, as each spring and summer has proven more turbulent than I’ve expected and the constant stream of calamities has disrupted my horticultural plans. Last year, in an attempt to be more systematic, I bought a proper greenhouse (but too late in the summer to make really effective use of it). Despite this, I’ve sometimes amazed myself with how good my produce has been. The peppers, aubergines (with which I am apparently obsessed) have been lovely and butternut squash were quite spectacularly good last year. But there have equally been quite dismal failures: last year’s were the sweetcorn, which I planted too late and which were beaten by winter, and my attempts to grow garlic and shallots the previous year were somewhat less than successful.

Today, I bought this year’s plants and seeds. The range of vegetables is wider than ever before - I’ve added cucumbers, radishes, several more varities of tomato, cayenne peppers to last year’s selection - but I’ve cut down a little on herbs. For the first time I feel like it’s a properly planned operation rather than something improvised on the spur of the moment. Who knows, maybe this time around I’ll even be able to convince the coriander to grow.

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