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East London meets Tuscany

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Chris Howard Chris Howard | 17:55 UK time, Monday, 24 August 2009

Hi everyone, I'm back and feeling very proud. A week in Italy, with their love of everything "tomato" had left me nervous about my return, and how my poor little grow-bag fed friends would fare in comparison.

Chris's ripened tomatoesI shouldn't have worried. Yes, they might be slightly small (I didn't realise until now that they are actually cherry tomatoes!), they might be on an East London balcony rather than swaying in a Tuscan breeze, but they have done me proud. Compared to most of their brash, showy cousins (typically Italian then!) they are simply delicious.

However, I have no time to be smug. To be honest, my squash have been a grave disappointment. The hours I have spent serenading them on that balcony, wining and dining them with the purest water and feeding them only the finest of fertilisers... For what reward? None whatsoever - they have not been fertilised.

Of course, it might not be entirely their fault, being, as they are, plants which require insects to do the deed for them. So I'm willing to concede that perhaps my attentions were misdirected (more Flight of the Bumblebee and less Barry White next time?). However, I decided to take Ann's advice (marvellous as ever), and, quite literally, take matters into my own hands.

Chris's squash flowerI will save the intimate details (and your blushes, dear reader), but suffice to say I noticed last night what appeared to be a distinct swelling at the base of the female flower. I have been warned by expectant mothers not to get my hopes up straight away, but I have a good feeling about this one. Surely, surely, I finally have a baby squash developing...?


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