You have to promise not to laugh .... OK? I'm proud. Over the last couple of weeks I've been harvesting my first ever balcony-grown vegetables. Here they are - all six of them.
I said, don't laugh. And anyway they weren't the only ones. We've had another six since then, and there at least six more on the way. OK, OK - we've not quite reached self-sufficiency and the supermarket hasn't gone out of business. But it's a start. And I really was ridiculously proud of myself. They were cooked together with a large portion of self-satisfaction.
The vegetable garden is still coming on, but I'm having a few problems with the sex life of my zucchini (you're not laughing, remember?). They're blooming like mad, but they're the most prudish flowers I've ever come across. They seem to spend most of the time firmly clamped shut, apparently with the same attitude to reproduction as the headmistress of a Victorian girls' school. And then, I can't tell the difference between the male flowers and the females. I'm out there daily with my little paintbrush playing at being a bee - but if the bees know what they're supposed to be doing, I certainly don't. Just spread the pollen around a bit, that's my motto. With any luck sooner or later there'll be a telltale bulge, but if anyone knows of any clear photos on the net which show the difference, do let me know. I've been staring mystified at fuzzy pics which state authoritatively that they show the male or female flower, but they look just the same to me.
Everything else edible has succumbed. The salad leaves collapsed, the oregano turned brown and died, as did the rosemary, and the mint and basil have been devoured by caterpillars. And that's just the vegetable garden. Oh well, the false security of the long, cool spring is obviously over. From now on it's back to hot, sticky pest and disease-ridden summer reality ....