On a scale that is downright embarrassing, the boat is yielding a few crops at last. So far I have been able to pick five tomatoes and one bean. There’s more to come, thankfully. There’s a single chilli swelling on the plant and several purple flowers that promise further fruit; a small clump of tomatoes slowly ripening; and a smattering of tiny beans yet to grow and a lot of flowers.
I’ve planted a second crop of salad that is already sprouting through. The perennial herbs – mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena and bay – are all in decent health. And the hyssop I’m growing from seed is a proper plant now, one in need of a bigger pot.
But really it’s all deeply unimpressive, especially in light of other people’s efforts. I see boats bursting with fruit and vegetables cruise past daily and feel ashamed of my pitiful crop. The potential to grow an awful lot of food is great, and some boaters are doing it to a brilliant degree. There is nothing quite so cheerful as a pretty barge passing decked in the flowers and fruits of a gardener’s love. Next year I will do better!