Working had been getting in the way of my gardening. I really wanted to be free of work so I could do my own gardening and grow my own vegetables. No more dependence on those dictatorial supermarkets who charge what they want and decide what we should eat. What's not to like about that? Not only would I be free of supermarkets I would also save myself more than £50 a week in shopping bills.


I have now been retired for eighteen months and last year I successfully grew some of my own fruit and vegetables, but it came in gluts forcing me to make chutney and jam and then it ended. It was nice but inadequate and the cost of the seeds, compost, water and equipment was far more than the money saved on shopping bills.

But let's ignore that the total bills were actually much higher and say it was because of inflation on the residual shopping list items. The spreadsheets and accounts I keep to manage my budget must be wrong.

I don't believe it cost more to grow my own, so therefore it didn't. I am a thoroughly modern Brit. When it suites me I can ignore the experts and provide my own alternative facts which are validated by my honestly held belief. 

There! I've mastered Brexit Britain and may soon qualify as one of the people again.

And to prove it, this year I planted far more seedlings than I have space for to grow into mature plants. I wanted the crops they'd produce, so why not?  I just kept believing I'd find the room.

But by the time I needed to plant out the squashes I had still not found the space, so I delayed the planting out date. I purchased large pots and transplanted half of them. That would make it easier to find room. They wouldn't need a place in a bed. But where, bearing in mind how they grow? And what about the rest of them?

At this point I must admit I slipped a bit from my attempts to rejoin the people and I consulted an expert - several different experts to get a variety of opinion and advice. We can't all be perfect and I promise to try harder next time.

As a consequence I decided to grow them vertically up a mesh frame. That, it seems is the way to save space. Only problem - no mesh frame. So next stop, the DIY store and, following a heated argument with the Webmaster, more expensive purchases. He was a typical moaner, pointing out that any frame would have to support the weight of the plant and withstand the weather. He seemed concerned that the weight of the plant  and/or blustery wind would blow down any non-robust structure that wasn't firmly anchored to the ground. He really needs more faith in flimsy canes and plastic mesh but I let him get on with his design.

Then, when he was about to build it, I turned it down. I don't think we need all the fancy watering systems he was proposing and I thought it would be an eye-sore in front of my house. He moaned again and pointed out I'd had specific watering requirements and because I was using the polythene planting bags the method I'd used last year when they were in the ground wouldn't work. I ignored him. I believe it will. Can he see into the future? And why does he keep going on about the cost?

For my first batch I have cobbled together a construction of bamboo canes and light weight mesh which is only held in place with guys.  I'm sure it will be fine, but to keep him happy I have agreed to let him partially implement his design and watering system with the second batch. 

We'll see, but if growing these squashes is to save money on the shopping bill I will need hundreds of them, more than I would have bought and more than we can eat. But technically it may save money had we actually wanted so many squashes.

It remains to be seen whether my faith in saving money or my taste for squashes breaks first, assuming any grow. 








Rooted to the Spot Articles

Demand UK remains part of Erasmus programme

Erasmus is an EU-funded programme which allows students from across the continent to work or study in another European country during their degrees.

While debating Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the House of Commons, the government voted against an amendment that would have required the government to maintain the UK's role in the scheme.

Erasmus has allowed millions of people to study and live abroad, an opportunity many participants would never have gotten otherwise.

Education shouldn't be a pawn in the Brexit negotiations - sign the petition to keep up the pressure on the government to protect the UK's role in Erasmus