This was the question I mulled over, as I scattered some seeds and pulled what I suspected were weeds from some freshly turned earth. I had moved from London to a small village in Bedfordshire and the overgrown garden was encroaching onto the patio with an unrelenting green insistence. A bit of hacking, a lot of digging, a touch of swearing and a small plot was finally cleared for growing vegetables. That first season was instructive. Some crops thrived, many did not. I cheerily ate what I could harvest. The slugs and snails, however, most certainly ate better than I. Is this how gastropods earned their name?
Being soft hearted, I do no more than pick them up and launch them into the fields over the fence, but secretly I’ve been wishing for a little help from a natural predator—the deceptively cute hedgehog. The day before my masters in Future Food Sustainability at Cranfield started, I found a small and hungry juvenile shuffling through my lilies. Not yet large enough to make it through hibernation I’ve taken to feeding him some cat food each evening. I’m hoping we both make it through to spring. He can help care for my crops in a sustainable fashion, while I try to focus on the larger picture.