Long time no blogging – I’ve missed it, but thanks to a major CFS crash I’ve spent most of the past couple of weeks in bed. But I’m fortunate, in that I only get this bad once every few years and the worst of it passes relatively quickly leaving me gradually clawing my way back to something approaching a life. I hate this stage because I have to be extra disciplined and careful with my energy, and because I am really bad at this I find I have to use an alarm clock to shout at me to stop! So anything that brings a smile to my face is a major plus at the moment. This did it:

Baycorn Shoot

A while ago the lovely Esther offered readers of her blog baycorns – the seeds (nuts?) from a Bay Tree. I leapt at the chance, and the beautiful things arrived in the post towards the end of March, cheering me up after another bad few days – is there a theme here? Are baycorns some herald of better days?!

Since then I have been nursing two, one in a pot outdoors, one inside in the warm, an experiment. And absolutely nothing has happened, to either, at all. Until this morning, when I stumbled into the study to check the weather and saw a shoot! Now all I have to do is avoid killing it now that it has emerged…

So thank you Esther, we have lift-off!

This really isn’t a good time of year for a new allotment holder to get too ill to garden. Ever wondered what happens if you just leave a plot alone for a few weeks, and the long drought is followed by rain? Wonder no longer. In the gap between the worst of my post Malvern viral thing and my current crash I made it up to the allotment to find that the fleece tent covering what was meant to be carrots, parsnips and radishes looked like this:


TNG and I only had a short amount of time and energy to spend up there, and I was severely tempted to cut my losses and leave it, because the bees love Common Fumitory (the purple stuff) and I rather like it too. However, FIL hates the stuff, and since I have been relying on him to keep the plot ticking over I was going to just yank everything out and get it over with until I saw some carrot seedlings amongst it all. I decided to try and weed it instead. I’m really glad I did, because amongst the rather over large (but still tasty) radishes I found some parsnip seedlings!

Parsnip Seedling

Not many, and I am sorely tempted to leave them to flower, having seen them look so beautiful at Chelsea, but it felt like a victory somehow. Add in the carrots that were flourishing away and it may not be as pretty, but it looks more allotment-like.


I also have some very healthy looking beetroot, garlic chives, salad onions and more carrot seedlings. Not a complete disaster, and we have been eating peas, broad beans, lettuce, the Jerusalem Artichokes are reaching for the sky, and we now have a house filled with the fragrance of the sweet peas that MIL and FIL pick on their way home.

It will be a while before I am up to trundling up there and weeding, or even just looking, but in that brief patch of not-so-bad health I also managed to plant some courgettes, squashes, climbing and dwarf French and runner beans and the first of the sweetcorn. If the weather is kinder this coming weekend FIL is all fired up ready to plant out more cauliflower, the sunflowers which are languishing in the cold frame, and some coriander. I wish it was all in the back garden, so that I could toddle out and look at it, do 10 minutes weeding and retreat to somewhere comfy and my Kindle, but not this year.

So, apologies for not having been responding to comments or visiting other blogs, but hopefully I will be starting to get around the blogoshpere again. I have a lot to catch up on!

48 thoughts on “I have a sprouting baycorn!

  1. Aw, that’s not so good, sounds very much like what we used to call (M E) The plot fairly gets over grown in a short time, glad to see you both got it in workable order again. Hope you get back to full health soon and don’t even think of coming over my way to leave a comment. Alistair

    1. Hi Alistair – same thing, ME tends to be called CFS nowadays. Hopefully both me and the plot will be back in working order in the not too distant future.

  2. Hi Janet, very sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. But Hey! A sprouting baycorn (!) has got to make you feel better.

    Moved house recently and our lawn was reseeded (not very well) by the previous owner. We have parsnip, rhubarb and strawberry growing up through the turf!


    1. Hi David, the baycorn really made me smile – a reward for patience! I rather like the sound of parsnip, strawberry and rhubarb growing through the grass ;-)

  3. Hi Janet,

    Sorry to hear you’ve been having a bad time lately, I hope you continue to feel better :)

    I can’t believe how overgrown you plot got! Wow, if only my seedlings were growing as quickly as those weeds! :D

    1. Hi Liz, that’s the problem I guess, the weeds are much better adapted to periods of neglect. Mind you, the fumitory with its shallow roots seems to avoid disturbing the growth of the vege seedlings and also acted as a living mulch during the dry spell for the peas and beans!

      Feels good to be back blogging again, albeit gently.

  4. Hi Janet, take care and don’t overdo it! Be kind to yourself! Looking forward to seeing how your garden grows!

    1. Thanks Janet, am doing my best to be careful, but am plagued with impatience…

  5. Welcome back to the blogging world. Sorry to hear you were so under the weather. I need to Google baycorn, so did both indoor and outdoor test subjects sprout?
    Glad to see you had some veggies under the pretty purple blooms. It is all your good bed preparation that allows you to reap a hearty bounty now….whether you were at its side to weed all unwanted plants away.
    Really glad you are back!

    1. Hi Janet, thank you, it is good to be back, I have missed the blogging world. So far only the indoor baycorn has sprouted, but I shall persist with the outdoor one. It is rather encouraging to see how good the harvest from the plot is despite the weeds, and nothing beats the taste of peas eaten raw straight out of freshly picked pods.

  6. Hi Janet, you have my sympathy on the health front. I have Fibromyalgia, which has some similarities with CFS, so I know how you must have been feeling.
    re the Baycorns: I never knew that Bay produced such things. I have a mature Bay tree in my garden and I have never noticed it producing any corns. I must look more closely! At what time of the year do they appear? I have in the past propagated Bay through cuttings.

    1. Hi Mark, I think Fibromyalgia and CFS can be used interchangeably at times, so yes, I think we understand what the other copes with! Not sure when the baycorns show, you’d need to ask Esther. I suspect it will be many years before I take my first leaf harvest from my little sprouting baby bay tree, assuming I don’t kill it off in the mean time.

    1. Summer? What summer! Its cool and wet – again… But I do take your point, and you are very right. Though it is good to be back in the blogosphere again.

  7. Hi Janet, Good to see you with us again. Sorry to hear you have been unwell but glad to hear you are now on the mend. I wonder how long the Bay tree will take to grow before you can harvest the leaves? Its lashing here today so no work in the garden. Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Trevor, I suspect it will be many, many years before I am harvesting leaves from my own grown-from-baycorn bay tree!

  8. Hiya Janet, and glad you’re feeling better enough to be back in the blogoslhsDHGCV – bum, my stupid injured thumb stuck – and hope the improvement continues. It’s a difficult time to have to leave a garden / allotment largely to it’s own devices but everything will be fine, plus you’ve got your baycorn, and I’m not sure there’s ever a good time anyway…

    (Love your parsnips. I’ve got small tomatoes springing up everywhere that I spread compost in the autumn. Guess my compost didn’t get up to a high enough temp. Again.)

    1. Hi Kate – injured thumb? Tres inconvenient. I often have the same problem with tomato seedlings popping up in my compost mulch – squash plants too last year! I have ambitions to use the fast hot composting methods where you get lovely compost in a few months, but apparently you need to pretty much make the heap all in one go so you need enough space to store the constituent parts until there is enough. And if that takes ages, surely you are better off doing it the old slow colder way anyway?!

      Am going to send TNG up to the plot with a camera to take photos of the parsnips, you never know, they may even have more than three leaves apiece by now!

    1. Hi Sue, I’ve been thrilled at how well the sweet peas have done this year, I usually get them flowering late and badly. No idea why this year is different. I have to admit to grudging admiration for the sheer excellent adaptation of the weeds. Still, we’re picking peas, beans, lettuces, digging up potatoes, munching strawberries, so they haven’t done too much damage, just doesn’t look exactly immaculate!

  9. Hi Janet – glad to hear you are sprouting back, like your baycorn. Given how fatigued you’ve been I did admire your work on the allotment ‘sorting the wheat from the tares’ as it were. Amazing what still managed to push through under the Furmitory – life is tenacious!

    1. Hi Laura, not sure what I would do without the help of FIL to keep the weeds at bay and plant things. He’s gradually replacing the potatoes we’ve started eating with the squash plants that desperately need a larger home than their pots. Bless him, he is willing to take instruction bring back the bounty, I just wish I could get up there myself. Maybe next week. Happily it isn’t just the fumitory and friends that is exhibiting tenacity, the rest of the plot seems to be getting on with the growing too, which is wonderful.

  10. Hey there
    YAY to bay corn, bleugh to CFS – nice to see you up and about.

    I love fumitory too :)

    1. Knew you’d love fumitory! Have just been distracted by the twittering of mating finches, and the noise of the would-be next in line agitating for his turn. Hilarious! The baycorn is a little like me, making some progress, but slower than I’d like!

  11. Janet, I’m sorry to hear you have been feeling so ill; I was rather worried about you. Good to have you back, but I hope you do take it slowly and not try to do everything at once. Weeding that carrot patch was a major undertaking; glad you had some help from FIL. Congratulations on the bay seedling–there’s a lesson to be learned here, I think, that gardening often takes a lot of patience.

    Hope you are on the mend soon!

    1. Hi Rose, I’m glad I had the slightly better spell in the middle that let me weed the carrots, though I am really missing the plot at the moment, its been three weeks now! Thank goodness for FIL – he planted squashes and sunflowers at the weekend, and brought back our first proper meal of new potatoes. Scrummy. Am thrilled about the baycorn, you’re right, patience is an excellent virtue, in gardening as in life! Nice to be sort of back, I’ve missed you all.

  12. So glad to see you back and hear you’re feeling better. I had a similar sight the other day. I weeded my entrance flower bed at least a month ago and then walked away – too many other projects on the go. When I looked the other day I gasped. Weeds as tall as me and where are the flowers? Your energy to get in and clean up and find many thriving plants gives me hope.

    1. Its a little disheartening when your weeds crowd out your precious new plants, isn’t it! I’m so impressed at how much progress you are making, with such a large plot to tame it is no wonder you have too many projects on the go to keep on top of all the weeding too. Hope that as with my parsnip seedlings you find that your new plants are tough enough to grow anyway.

  13. Janet – Usually when I read your posts I feel guilty that I’m not as industrious as you in the garden. I prefer the more laid back, take time to smell the roses approach.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    1. Eek, not sure I like the idea of my posts making anyone feel guilty! I’ve been hoping to smell the roses from the comfort of my hammock, but there’s been too much rain – which is making the plants happy but keeping me indoors.

  14. How frustrating to be feeling so tired at a busy time in the garden – it shows me that I have very little to complain about and that you do incredibly well to do as much as you do!

    1. Hi Caro, yes, my timing does rather lack a certain something. Ah well, the great thing is that plants – even the non-weeds – do just want to grow, so are doing remarkably well without my attention.

  15. Hi Janet, Sorry that you have been unwell, hope that this bout passes soon and you are soon revitalised once more. The baycorn is amazing – I had no idea that you could grow bay trees from seed – it must be a very good sign indeed.

    1. Hi Sara, I had no idea about the bay trees either, I’m hoping to be able to keep it going until it is a proper little plant that I can take leaves from, I’ve grown beech from seed but there is something almost miraculous about seeing a perfect leaf emerge on a little stalk from a solid nut-like seed like this. Now if I can just be as patient with myself as I have been with the baycorn…

  16. Glad to see you posting Janet. Wondered where you had got to. There is never a perfect time to be ill if you have a garden or allotment but at the end of the day things still grow without human interference. Glad that you have been able to enjoy some pickings from your plot and have been well enough to sow some seeds. How exciting to see a little baycorn ~ hope it thrives and that you are soon back to full health. Take care xxx

    1. Hi Anna, lovely to be missed. You are so right, the plot is doing a grand job of taking care of itself, even if it doesn’t look exactly neat. FIL is harvesting and planting on my behalf, so I am managing to be a little more relaxed about having to neglect it. xx

  17. I’m so sorry you aren’t well, really take it easy, love your Kindle! One positive thing that might have come out of all the weeds is that they protected the carrots from carrot fly! You have many more carrots than me anyway. I’m going to try them in a large pot with soft earth, they don’t like my tuffo rock. Hope you’re feeling a bit better by now, lots of love, Christina

    1. Hi Christina, my Kindle is my new best friend, a great way to distract myself from the fact that the only gardening I am doing is tying in the tomatoes! I hadn’t thought about the carrot fly protection angle, but you’re right. Carrots in pots sounds like the way to go with your “soil”, and given how sweet and lovely some of those shorter stubby carrots are you will probably end up with better crops than any of us. Would a raised bed be easier to keep watered?

  18. I too am sorry you have been unwell and am glad you and your computer are on the move again.

    I am, however, a bit worried about your baycorn. Has it gone red yet? If not . . . sure it isn’t a coffee tree?

    Baycorns are very slow to start to grow but, once they have got to about three inches high, they are very satisfying.

    I have one at that stage, two with little shoots and two I think are gearing up to sprout. (As long as I can manage to stop pushing aside the potting compost to see whether they have done so yet!) Several more aren’t showing – and may not.

    My photos are here


    I’m now excited to see whether you have bay or swapped it with coffee! (Or whether I misslabled the beans – I sent both!) Tis another stage in waiting.


    1. Hi Esther, thank you for this, as you can see from my latest post, I have, in fact, for a coffee plantlet (wrongly boasted about as a baycorn) AND a baycorn! So thank you, am thrilled. Am also trying not to give in to the temptation of picking a baby bay leaf, just to see what it tastes like, as there are only 6 leaves so far…

  19. Janet – Here’s good wishes and prayers that you are feeling better soon! I’m reading a fabulous book called Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart that you might like. It’s written in short chapter format and is about poisonous plants and all the dasatardly ways they’ve accidentally killed people. It’s really good! Happy reading/resting/gardening!!

  20. I’m so glad to see you back in the garden and back on the blogs! I’m sorry to hear that you were away because of the CFS. While the garden can be a taskmaster, it’s also a place of joy and adventure. Here’s wishing you many more babycorns and other bits of joy that seem to generate their own mysterious form of energy.

    1. Hi James, its good to start to feel up to wandering around outside with my camera again, not to mention catching up with people. I’ve missed it.

  21. Hi Janet, sorry to hear you are unwell and hope you feel better real soon! I’m so excited at the sight of your baby corn sprouts…woot woot!!

  22. I hope you’re feeling better soon Janet. So nice to see the surprise daisy in the garden – they are such cheerful little flowers. Also, your euphorbia reminds me that I want to add some to my garden soon. Hopefully this fall.

    1. Hi Cat, I’m getting their thanks. Euphorbias are one of my new loves, I wouldn’t want to be without them now, and keep trying to work out where I could add another.

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