What a difference a year makes.

This time last year I woke up with an idea.

Life had radically changed for all of us; around two months into the first long lockdown, unable to work and, for me an added threat of redundancy was looming. Now, I am a thinker but I’m also a doer. Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just do. The weather was glorious so I painted everything that had the misfortune to be in my way (sorry cats). The garden was weeded, hoovered, tidied and peacefully growing at its own pace. I had repaired things, decluttered the house, chopped up wood for the winter and rearranged the hen pen. I had tidied the shed and, like so many, I had even had a go at making sourdough bread – we’ll say no more about that!

Then I stopped. What next? With nothing to do and no-one to see, I’d run out of purpose and was genuinely beginning to run out of hope. Looking at the long term forecast, I couldn’t see the way ahead – no income, desperately limited social contact, others in my life suffering, and no inkling of how things were going to improve.

A year ago – to the day – Groceries from the Garden was born. Writing it helped to keep me sane, gave me reason and construct to my days and now it’s an experience bookable through AirBnB / or by contacting me on isa@groceriesfromthe.garden


I got my mojo back. But what a difference a year makes.

In the garden, this spring has proved to be a challenge for those of us who don’t have a heated green house. Seedlings have struggled with the fluctuating temperatures; so much so that this is the difference 12 months has made:

Tomatoes were in their pots ready to be sited in the garden 2020
Tomato seedling 2021!

But there’s hope! Sometimes you have to create it or at least play a part in its creation. I can’t change the weather to help my seedlings but I can do my best for them. So, during the day 100 tomato babies have basked in the greenhouse and in the evening they have been dutifully transported to the kitchen. I’m confident they can survive the nights in the greenhouse now. Things will improve for them and they’ll soon catch up.

This month you can sow just about any and every veg seed you want to grow. I didn’t sow my parsnips and carrots until the beginning of the month and they’re now peeking through the soil. Sometimes it’s worth holding back. Salad crops can be sown directly into their growing areas. May is known as the growing month. Things other than your delicious veggies and flowers will be growing rapidly too so if it’s a weed in your veggie patch, get rid of it. If you can hold off mowing your lawn (no mow May), and allow dandelions and daisies to grow, the bees will be for ever in your debt and will reward you by pollinating your plants. There’s much to do but don’t forget to simply enjoy the garden. As you plant your veggies, consider the hope that you have participated in creating and the difference a year makes! See you in June.

Published by the back door gardener

Passionate about growing food in any space and about teaching others to do the same. I'm trying to start a backdoor revolution - no allotment needed. I've fed myself from my garden for over 10 years; only needing to buy some emergency parsnips for Christmas several years ago.

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