Marigolds - Treasured Gardens in Lockdown

Gill Aitchison, the writer of our autumnal book "Mungo Makes New Friends", has kindly written a guest-post for us today! Catch up with Gill and her garden below. 

Mungo is happy when he makes new friends and I am happy because I have a new companion... I love gardening (just like Errol in Errol's Garden by Gillian Hibbs), but I am very lucky in that I have a real garden and a polytunnel. At the beginning of lockdown I planted trays and trays of vegetable seeds. I was delighted that nearly every seed sprouted.

In sunny April and May, I had to find somewhere in the garden to transplant the seedlings. I cleared the weeds, prepared the soil and made a nice cosy bed for them. However, I had to protect these young plants from the birds, who like to eat young, fresh greens such as cabbage and lettuce, and from garden pests, who like to eat tomatoes and aubergines. I spread a thin net over the greens so that the sunshine and rain could still get through, but it stopped the birds pecking the plants. They have their own food on the bird table - a robin and a wagtail have been regular visitors. To stop the whitefly tucking into the tomatoes, I planted marigolds between the tomato plants. Marigolds are beautifully bright yellow and orange flowers, that attract insects and repel whitefly so that the tomatoes can grow bigger and better. This method is called 'Companion Planting'; it is organic, works well and looks pretty.

Hence my new friend and companion is called Marigold! As a consequence of Covid-19 and lockdown I have spent many many hours in the garden, and the results are fabulous. Tomatoes, pumpkin, aubergines, carrots, potatoes, chillies, onions, peppers, peas and corn, all grown in my own garden.

Beautiful colours and various shapes 
Nature's amazing, just look what it makes.

'Food, Food, Fabulous Food' by Kate Clynes. See MW's illustrations of vegetables in  the book. It almost matches my list, but there is one missing because I can't grow it in Scotland - can you find it?

Fruit and Vegetables from
Fruit and Vegetable spread by MW

Gill Aitchison