Here on Pig Row we are thinking beans not to be confused with the beans my wife opened a few days ago. She found something organic, something not bean like floating in the tomato sauce. I suspect that it was a sliced up mouse, I’ve seen them before; I’ve worked in a crisp factory. I couldn’t help but tell my wife the story of crispy sliced mice, she shrieked, felt queasy. I shouldn’t have told her that story but my mouth went into first gear before my mind did, I am a man, it is a curse of our whole gender. All men have the ability to put their foot exactly where their mouth is in less than a split second.
My foot has been firmly in my mouth all week. So it has been for the best that after every meal this week when my mouth is empty and ready to take my size eleven that I exit to the garden. That brings us back to beans and not the tinned kind. After a fortnight of hardening off my French beans they are ready to go in the ground and I have spent several pleasant evenings getting them in the ground. On the final evening I planted the last plant just as the rains came back with vengeance.
There is a sense of satisfaction that you have got something planted before the weather changes. There is nothing like feeling the first drops of rain on your neck as the final crumbs of soil drip from your open fingers. There is a sense of something circular, whole in the act of growing, planting and getting under shelter as nature takes over the watering.
I have yet to tell my wife I have planted beans, she is still feeling quite ill and when Little D watches Tom & Jerry she has to leave the room. It seems any mention of beans and mice in the same sentence can have her scuttling out of the room in a jiffy. I try to avoid mentioning this but the fact that I am writing about it here has not missed my attention. I am putting my electronic foot where my electronic mouth is. I am going to get in trouble, so in the spirit of defiance, stupidity and downright masculinity: mouse and beans, mouse and beans, mouse and beans. There my foot is firmly wedged and I could move into the garden shed if it wasn’t for the mice that lived there.
Andrew Oldham writes about gardening at Pig Row. Pig Row is split into three gardens, the fruit & herb garden, the allotment and the meadow. These gardens are spread over a quarter of an acre on top of the Pennin's. Weather is not a problem there, it is a lifestyle. He has received no formal training in gardening. He ignored the gardening wisdom his father told him and opted to eat fresh peas straight from the pod. In his defence he was only six. He has learnt from his experiences of building several gardens from scratch and working an allotment. Andrew is an organic gardener and keeps chickens. His work has featured in The Sunday Times Magazine, Grow Your Own, The Cottage Gardener and on BBC Radio Four. He is an ex-BBC Journalist. He still eats most of the peas before they get to the kitchen but learnt to listen to his father.