Real Men Sow

Trying to Make Some Sense of It All: Lewis, Rory and Carrots.


I’m not very good at song lyrics. I don’t tend to hear them properly. I think I know a line, but in fact I’m normally singing it incorrectly. What’s more, I sing it over and over for the rest of the day. ‘One line Jono’, my wife calls me.

I had one of those incorrect lines going around my head as I pulled my squash plants up recently.

(Look at all this by the way! From just 2 squash plants!)


Anyhow, getting to that song lyric…

Cavolo Nero, Kale, Fragile French Beans and Bendy Leeks
There isn’t much left of the kale and cavolo nero after the squash suffocation. I’m going to miss those guys in the winter. The plants are so reliable and hardy – it’s funny how in past years my kale has survived heavy snow and frost, torrential rain and hurricane strength wind but in the end, it’s been massive squashes that have got them.

The burden of the squash plants have also left me with bendy leeks. The plants have reasonable shanks for this time of year but there aren’t many that have been strong enough to take the weight of the overrunning squash vines. Fingers crossed that with a few weeks of summer left they may find the energy to revert back to an upright state.

And the less said about the fragile French beans, the better.

Suddenly, frowning at the damage caused by the squashes, added with the mess of my greenhouse and the natural contemplation that comes from a week’s holiday, the lyric seemed very relevant.

‘Trying to make some sense from it all…’

The words weren’t at all what the singer was actually singing, but they did fit neatly with my reflective mood.

Lewis, Rory and Carrots
I decided that it’s not been all bad. The beets have been belting, as was the mangetout. And my carrots were a big success by virtue of some beautiful examples, if not quantity. These three crops have got something in common, too: I grew them all with Lewis.

By far the most enjoyment this year has come from the time spent on the patch with the boys. I’ve grown huge, money saving squashes and good crops of equally profitable strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb, and normally this is something I’d have taken great pleasure from (I wrote a book about saving money from growing veg, after all), but I’m sensing a change in the wind.

I mean, I grew carrots! I never bother with carrots anymore. At pennies per kilo, what’s the point?

Well, the point this year was that Lewis enjoyed the carrots. He sowed them with me, and they grew quickly. They’re fun to harvest too. I’ve never enjoyed growing carrots this much before. And as an added bonus, Lewis ate one too (just one, but still!).


We’ve grown other things from start to finish, and Rory has joined in regularly too. I’ve had to manage both the boys’ attention spans, but that’s one of the advantages of growing in a garden rather than an allotment. When the boys are bored, they can go back to their trains.

So as I survey the patch, humming the wrong words to a song, I think there is a sense being made of it all. Tastes change, as to reasons for growing. And I think I’ve found a new one.

Is it too early to say roll on next year?

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One Comment

  1. Maggie MorishSeptember 8, 2018 at 9:58 pmReply

    It’s always nice to see people gardening with children. I sure hope he grows up to still like it.

    Nice post as always.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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