Is it Really Worth it?

Is it Really Worth it?

A little bit philosophical but obviously I’m referring to celery.

celery watering

celery collar

The thing is I hate the stuff. The taste repels, the smell revolts and the texture rebuffs any approach I make to the vegetable. However, I adore growing it.

The thing about celery is it needs a lot of attention. From the moment you sow the seed or pot up the seedlings, it is demanding. You have to keep the plants growing all the time; you need to saturate them and feed relentlessly; you have to, if growing trench celery, put collars around the stems to blanch the parts other people eat; you have to ward off celery mite, slugs, snails and you have to ensure soil doesn’t get into the centre of the plants as this can be the cause of chipped teeth and fractured fillings. What a performance - but what fun!


Same thing applies to lilies. For scent, beauty and overall wooing and wowing, lilies are the tops. That's only if you can overcome lily beetles. I’ve tried. I’ve generally failed but this year I’ve had a breakthrough. After speaking with a chap at an open garden event, I tried a daily (or eveningly!) wash down with soap water. The larvae are the nuisance as they chew through all the leaves. And they cover themselves in their own poop to put predators off. It works. But not for me in my gloves armed with a bucket of dilute soapy water. The results are OK. I’m not going to win any Lily Display of the Year Awards but I’m happy. Progress.

lily-beetle

But I guess that is what gardening is about. Pitting your wits, skills and luck against the nasty side of nature and, in the case of celery, just enjoying having a go.

cabbage-white-eggsHowever, a note of defeat. Brassicas. That’s all the big and robust caulis, cabbage and broccoli. I’m resting for a year. I love all brassicas. I say that once you have tasted your home-grown cauliflower you will never go back to watery, insipid frozen guff or flaccid shop bought bunkum. One taste is all it takes. But to get that delight takes a lot of effort. I can do the seed sowing, seedling raising, planting out into firm ground and watching the weather forecast for frost. I can put the protective stem collars around the plants, I can just about manage the tangle of netting to keep the pigeons away but, to be honest, the daily check and squash routine of cabbage white butterfly eggs is beyond fun. Every day without fail, as these beasts hatch at an alarming rate and put locusts to shame with their appetites. So, for this year, I have more space and time - to concentrate on watering the devil's food and wiping the bottoms of lily beetle larvae.

Hmmmm… is it really worth it? Of course, it is!

Epilogue
I’m really missing my brassicas. I’ve usually cut a few heads of brocc by now. And shop bought really isn’t the same. And I yearn for my morning check of developing creamy curds of cauli. Next year - definitely next year.