Thrilled to see some of my seeds germinate

SOUTHSEA GREENHOUSE: Enjoying an early harvest

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Liz Bourne and her family have transformed their small Southsea back garden into a grow-your-own plot

The frenzy of activity a couple of weeks ago was soon brought to an abrupt halt a week later when the weekend proved to be somewhat damper.

Despite this, I was thrilled to see that some of my seeds had started to germinate. I’m now the proud parent of a tiny courgette seedling and a couple of miniature spinach plants too.

Admittedly, you do have to look quite carefully to spot them, but they are definitely there.

Feeling quite smug, it only takes an easily-led friend to ask my advice on some gardening issue to bring me back down to earth.

Now, any regular reader would know that I’m the very antithesis of an expert, bumbling along experimenting with the garden with not huge amounts of success.

But I do feel flattered sometimes that a friend values my opinion and I always do my best to give it. Although it’s not always the best of advice, I do try my hardest and at least sound as if I know what I’m doing.

Luckily, a kindly neighbour recently passed on to me a handful of gardening books that I can now refer to and appear to be knowledgeable. With such titles as Be Your Own Vegetable Doctor and The Awful Gardener’s Book, I feel well-equipped now to deal with all enquiries. Many thanks to her for saving my battered reputation!

Apart from salvaging my perceived ‘expert’ status, my more immediate concern is what to do with the rat I spotted in my compost…