Last weekend I stared death in the face as I squared up to one of my greatest fears. Well, to be more accurate, I stared snails in the face because I gardened and I am terrified of creepy crawlies. Basically, I don’t like anything that isn’t cute and furry, or brightly coloured.

I may have squealed rather a lot when a snail reared its tiny head at me, presumably gnashing its teeth in an attempt to intimidate me, but then it started moving very slowly in the opposite direction, so it was fine. I’m not sure when I developed my horror of minibeasts, though I do remember being repulsed when, at the age of about seven, I jumped off a swing and crushed a snail with my knee. It was nasty.

Anyway, one of the benefits of my recent move has been gaining a garden. It’s a typical London garden, i.e. tiny, neglected and mostly concrete, but a garden it remains. For the past few years I’ve had vague fantasies of living like The Good Life, as a self-sufficient woman rearing shit and growing other shit. Well, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and mine was the impulse purchase of a child’s pumpkin growing kit in Morrisons.

The first step was easy. I planted the pumpkin seeds in the tiny pot provided and left it to sweat. I was really pleased that some shoots came up, as I have a history of planticide.

Soon, my seedlings were too big for the confines of the tub, so I got some compost and managed to repot them without casualty.

I started getting them used to being outside. I begn buying and borrowing gardening equipment.  All the while, avoiding what was to come.


The jungle. What terrors would I find lurking in the undergrowth?

Spoiler: It was mostly woodlice.

I yanked at stuff , snapped twigs and raked at the earth with a tool borrowed from my mother, and an hour or so later, I had achieved this.

I’m pretty sure that at least one plant is already dead, but I planted it anyway in case it’s a Jesus pumpkin plant.

The wild plants in the rest of the bed are covered in aphids, so my next task is to make some spray to get rid of them. But I have a pumpkin patch of my very own!

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