Too much shade, too much snow in the winter, seasons too short was the reasoning.
That first year they were pretty much right. The garden hadn't been used in any capacity in years other than as an adventure playground for the voles underneath the turf. I spent much of that first year taking out the badly laid turf that the landlord had put in not that long before. I felt somewhat bad about it but the voes had dug tunnels underneath and the was falling down holes here, there and everywhere. It was then we were concerned that the kids weren't eating as well as they should so I thought taking out the grass that was most affected by the voles and making a vegetable garden would be a good idea. The neighbours of course thought it was a crazy idea.
I soon thought so too when I discovered underneath the grass was the same rocks that our driveway was made from. What should be an easy enough job of taking out the grass and adding compost took me a good couple of months of pulling out stone after stone to put it right. That made a short season even shorter. Tomatoes didn't ripen until they were sitting on plates on the kitchen table at the end of October.
This year was going to be better. After all I did much of the preparation work the year before. There wasn't even all that much snow until Spring. Soon, even that small amount disappeared and I was stuck in planting Basil, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach etc to get the garden filled with cold weather crops while the Tomatoes and Peppers were growing under a light in the spare bedroom. Two to three weeks into the Spring weather and Summer temperatures were here already. The basil not fully underway yet, disappointingly curled up and died. The Spinach thrived. The peas started off well enough before they decided screw this was beans weather. The few peas we did get were really tasty but ultimately were just a tease of what could have been. The cucumbers didn't do anything. Again the cabbages started off well enough but as the temperatures got hotter and hotter and summer went on and on they too seemed to be coming to nothing. One cabbage here, and another there would be like a magnet for white fly and would get pulled by the roots to save the other crops.
Neighbours 2 and 0.
It got to the stage that I was feeling guilty using so much water at night when the rain wasn't falling. I would water one part of the garden one night, and another part another night but no where near enough considering the mercury was hitting between 95 and 104 daily.
Then finally late August the night time temperatures started to ease. Thats when the cabbages that had survived the whitefly attacks began to grow once more. Beets and Shard matured. Carrots were lifted and soon discovered to have so much more flavour than bought carrots that I was chastised for not planting more.
Then worthy of a Mormon miracle Cucumbers I had long given up on started to appear. Now I'm wondering what the hell to do with so much cucumber.
ParsleySeems that despite this long hot summer you can grow a garden here after all. Lets call it - Neighbours 2, Me 1, for now. I already have my instructions for next year. More carrots, more shallots, and that i'm sure is just a start and with a bit more experience with the conditions I should be able to call it a draw next year.