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Yesterday I was out in the garden hacking things into shape while the raspberries sprounted a previously unknown pest (some sort of tiny beetle, which combines with rainwater to create mush and mould) and the slugs savaged the blueberries (still got a little bowl of blueberry goodness!) and the Passion Vine (doing very well in this tropical weather) attempted to engulf me whenever I brushed against it.

The vegetable kingdom is a savage place, sometimes. Friday's question is about that, and is a for-fun question - how do you relate to vegetables? As ever, go to comments with philosophical arguments with the poll, discussions of gardens of your past and future, amusing stories about vegetables, amusing pictures of vegetables and anything else that sparks your fancy.

Poll #1978784 The vegetable kingdom

Me and the veg when I was a kid (tick as many as you want)

Hated, feared, loathed and despised all vegetables because that is nature's way
Hated veg probably becaus of how they were cooked TBH
Hated veg because I am so old that none of the good vegetables were available when I was a kid
Was indifferent to vegetablekind/found them tolerable
Was indifferent to vegetablekind/found them tasty
Liked my vegetables for they were pretty colours
Liked my vegetables for the tasty taste
Thought vegetables were the best thing ever
Refused to eat anything but vegetables
Worshipped vegetables (or a particular vegetable)

My view of the vegetable kingdom now is:

A cornucopia of deliciousness waiting to be discovered
A minefield of the tasty and the terrible, waiting to be picked through
Out-of-control self-replicating nanotechnology that must be made safe by cooking
A useful way to control the water flow around my house
Like a stupid Facebook game, but you get tasty treats a the end!
A perpetual fight against mould, wilt, rust, black spot, slugs and other pests and diseases
Aaaaaaaaaa-tchoooo! (hayfever)
That green stuff that gets everywhere
That green stuff at the bottom of the fridge
Approach with caution; that stuff can kill you (or at least cause a nasty stomach ache)

If the opportunity were available, I would definitely

Grow/support the growth of genetically modified foods (subject to safety checks)
Live in a treehouse (if sufficiently awesome)
Have plants in my living space that performed active jobs like pest and dirt control
Wear growing plants on a semi-permenant basis
Get some chloropyll in me to reduce my food and fuel needs

Things I grow at the moment

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
There's some green stuff outside
There's some green stuff inside
There's some green stuff on my car
All the flowers in the world
Another thing which I will tell you about below

The most amazing/striking/confusing thing I have ever grown is:

I already have/would like to have in my garden/yard

A lawn
A pond
A hedge
A tree
A greenhouse
A summerhouse
More sun
A firepit
Exotic wildlife (please say what in comments)
Unexotic wildlife (say what if you want to)

On the whole, the green stuff:

Loves me and wants to be my friend
Sees me as potential useful organic fertiliser
Is all around my and within me, man
Is banished beyond the tidy wall of civolization
Will conquer our ruins

Pick one thing you will grow in your garden next year:


( 24 worms — Feed the birds )
15th Aug, 2014 07:30 (UTC)
Wildlife in the garden
My most exotic garden wildlife is Goldfinches and Blackcaps! We also have Housemartins in the eves. More prosaically I run a fairly high population of pests, too, including the quite large, furry ones.
15th Aug, 2014 08:15 (UTC)
Re: Wildlife in the garden
In some ways I regard pests as semi wild pets that forage for their own food. Mammals and birds are cuter but I have no problems with slugs and snails. We get our food from supermarkets and if the slimy creatures need to eat our dahlias at least they attract birds and possibly hedgehogs.
My issue is with strangling plants. Brambles particularly (I have a zero tolerance policy) but also ground elder, ivy, bindweed and laurel.
I like the idea of living in a tree that scavenges dirt, exudes a resinous scent and maybe flowers in odd places. Not pest control though (see above). I cultivate spiders to control the insect population. Actually Some big furry spiders to control the mice would be useful...
15th Aug, 2014 20:48 (UTC)
Re: Wildlife in the garden
I think a spider large enough to take out rats might cause me problems if I blundered into its web first thing (as I often do).

That reminds me, there's a spider the size of my thumb joint in the greenhouse! It's huuuuuge
15th Aug, 2014 08:08 (UTC)
My most exotic wildlife is the ring-necked parakeet.

This year the slugs and snails ate every legume, so we're sticking to woody climbers and hollyhocks.

Snail Shaming
15th Aug, 2014 11:45 (UTC)
15th Aug, 2014 15:37 (UTC)
I also tried deporting them to other streets. Not very successful.

Into Exile
15th Aug, 2014 20:30 (UTC)
Did you tag them to track their return? A dab of nail polish is traditional, but there are prettier options
15th Aug, 2014 20:51 (UTC)
lost all my french beans though
I got broad beans past the slugs. They are tougher. Plant early and space them out among the hollyhocks.
15th Aug, 2014 08:15 (UTC)
I have foxes, wood pigeons, angry fighting cats and (almost certainly) rats. No squirrels (yet) which seems odd as they are quite pesty.

Exotic veg (when in season)was served to me as a child as a supper snack to keep me going between getting home from school and dinner when dad got in. Of course, I would get crisps often as not, or seedless grapes, but rare artichokes instead were a special treat. I still buy artichokes as a sporadic treat now (though they are slow food so a sign that I'm not rushed or busy - which isn't often.) I like eating radishes like sweets and longon are tasty but fiddly.

Edited at 2014-08-15 08:17 (UTC)
15th Aug, 2014 23:03 (UTC)
mmmmmm artichokes
I just googled longan. Assuming they're tastier than lychees!
16th Aug, 2014 04:14 (UTC)
Re: mmmmmm artichokes
To me, longan have a more perfumed flavour to lychees, superior I think. I first tried them in Thailand, where at first glance they don't look edible at all. Chuffed to find they're regularly on sale round the corner from me. I love mangosteens too. Very tasty, very fiddly, very expensive and hard to find in the UK. (Bought some in Wing Yip.)
I have spotted durian in London Chinatown, and Wing Yip claims to get them in the summer season. One day I'll buy one (they are sort of horrible AND moreish) but it would involve a very unpopular tube ride home!

All of these fruits are presumably available daily on the Cowley Road - knock yourself out!
16th Aug, 2014 19:50 (UTC)
Re: mmmmmm artichokes
HMF. When I tried to buy Tejacotes they were nowhere to be found and certainly not on Cowley Road.
17th Aug, 2014 02:36 (UTC)
Re: mmmmmm artichokes
Wow! They look pretty specialist, I've no idea where one could source such a thing. Did you ever find any in the end? As a last resort maybe see if Kew has a tree and go and steal some!
17th Aug, 2014 21:42 (UTC)
Haha ha
That hadn't occurred to me! No, I never did track them down. There are some new Portuguese delis in town since then so I may make my Ponche yet.
15th Aug, 2014 09:10 (UTC)
Sadly I live in a second-floor flat and have no garden (at least, there is a garden, kept under control by gardeners, and I'm allowed to sit/play in it but not grow things). I have window boxes with rather neglected pansies, petunias and sweet William (I'm out of practice at hot summers and performed insufficient watering). I also have a Belfast sink growing chives, parsley, mint and sage, and failing utterly to grow coriander. The clematis I thought was perennial has decided to have a year off. Or died.

The garden wildlife is limited to foxes, cats, squirrels, pigeons, rooks, parakeets and the very-occasional woodpecker. Oh, and sometimes a jay. And children.
15th Aug, 2014 23:09 (UTC)
"You can plant it at any time of year and it just sprouts" -- YES Alys. Not for me it doesn't.

Clematis needs a deep pot and some damp in it. It won't do warm and shallow. Fragrant Oberon's good for a pot.

Pretty good gardening for no garden!
15th Aug, 2014 10:40 (UTC)
For question one, it was never suggested / hinted to me as a child that I was allowed not to like / eat things and I honestly don't think it ever occurred to me to not like / eat things - although as I have said before my parents / aunts and uncles were very much of the 'I haven't tried it because I don't like it' persuasion (there was a secondary danger that if I asked for something because it was advertised it would then get on 'the list' and we would have it weekly ever after).
15th Aug, 2014 23:12 (UTC)
huh, that's interesting. You think maybe kids are primed not to like things? I hated peas. A LOT I hated peas. Only started liking them about five-ten years ago
16th Aug, 2014 13:08 (UTC)
Possibly. I do remember going off bananas - bizarrely because of a dock strike which lead to them being thrown overboard, the image revolted me for some reason (I have always had a visceral dislike of death and decay), could have been 1972? But I guess fruit is more optional 'cos you choose from the bowl (and I would always eat it in fruit salads).
16th Aug, 2014 19:53 (UTC)
I certainly went through an entirely wasp-related dislike of plums as a child/young adult. They're still not a favourite but I eat them now because they fit neatly in the lunchbox. Ah, age....
15th Aug, 2014 12:50 (UTC)
Things I grow at the moment.
Herbs on the windowsill. Some straggly mixed leaves. A dragon plant (Bernard) and a peace Lily. Bernard arrived in my life as a scrawny punkish thing in 2008 and has since grown somewhat. He probably needs repotting again but I fear a) this is now a two person job and b) that it'll only encourage him.

Wild animals
Since I only have a garden in my imagination having a kindly tiger/leopard/panther visit is entirely possible.

I became vegetarian at the age of 13 and I think I probably ate most of what was put in front of me as a kid. My dad doesn't like spinach so we didn't get that - ditto pumpkin which my mum doesn't like. The very pinacle (or perhaps root) of vegetable delight when I was a kid though was the roast parsnip.
15th Aug, 2014 23:15 (UTC)
a roast parsnip is a glorious thing
For reasons of fashion or parental dislikage I ate my first roast parsnip at age sixteen. A revelation.

Go on, repot Bernard. Don't fear the dragon!
16th Aug, 2014 13:28 (UTC)
I always liked fruit, and maybe only some veg not all. Sweetcorn always yes, fried spring cabbage also, salad yes and tomatoes in particular, but courgettes were a bye-word for evil in our house when I was growing up. Likewise cooked carrots though slightly less so.
16th Aug, 2014 19:57 (UTC)
the evil that is courgettes
We had neighbours that always brought round bags of overgrown courgettes -- we used to call them Courges, though I guess they were essentially Marrows? They were vile, bland, flavourless monsters. We tried eating them, and then feeding them to the chickens (they were not impressed) and then cooking them and seasoning them and feeding them to the chickens (ditto). The peacocks had a peck at them but frankly they were a bit of a fail all round.
( 24 worms — Feed the birds )