Girdling the vegetable garden

I could hear the plants quivering at my approach. ‘Here she comes. And she has the twine.’

Girdling season. The moment when you realise your plants are more trip hazard than delight. The moment when you realise you can’t see the paths for the vegetation.

The moment when you sit on the ground, grab a long piece of soft twine an hug your enormous achillea Gold Plate patch and hope the caterpillars don’t land on your head.

It has happened before now. And actually I’m always on the lookout as the cabbage moth caterpillars love to hide in this dense thicket of delight. I ought to do something about the increasing crop of bright yellow flowers. But somehow I always forget at the end of the season to attack with a sturdy fork and remove half the clump. Someone please remind me. It is taking up way too much room.

And it was only when I had girdled the whole crop that I found a poor courgette plant struggling for light underneath.

And this sorry state of crowding repeats itself all over the vegetable garden. Nowhere more so than in the raspberry jungle.

I started out with two beds of raspberries. I now have found. And I won’t be surprised one day to wake up in my bed and find a raspberry runner pushing up through the mattress.

Pushy little blighters. You have to be fierce. The problem is the fruit are so utterly delicious. But I am stopping at four beds. And ruthlessly rogue out any that are making a break for the other beds, the paths, the grass, the walls.

Tying them into the supports corrals them somewhat. And gives me the mad illusion I am on control.


All you need to do is take one look at the bed that was supposed to contain a few discrete sweet peas to realise that this human has lost the battle and can do nothing but wade through the perfume on the way to the gate.

My fey attempts at girdling this particular bed are ludicrous.

And inadequate. That path belongs to the sweet peas and I can hear the plants all tittering with delight when they see I have to go the long way round to get in with the secateurs.

Oh, and the caterpillars? I found them lurking in the fennel. A merry moment of ‘dealing with them’ (thank goodness I was wearing gloves) and that whole thing was tied up in no time. I have cucumbers struggling for the light near this one monster self-seeded beauty. Not to mention dwarf French beans and dill.

Now excuse me while I set to editing the pictures. They all get insterted into the draft of this blog the wrong way round. And I spend a teeth grinding waste of time putting them the right way up. Time I could be spending attacking the grab grass / cleavers on the orchard bank.