Managing to keep some unidentified kind of rubber plant alive indoors for a few years now does not a gardener make. Beyond that, it’s been a struggling basil or parsley plant on the back kitchen window that usually doesn’t see the end of a week or two. When recently asked by Stop Food Waste to support their combined efforts with GIY to get people out there and growing their own I was happy to give it a whirl but this is a new departure for me, a little adventure or foray if you will and sure we’ll see how it goes.
First up was the assembly of a couple of raised beds in the garden. We put two adjoining beds in place, end to end, one for team kids & dad and the other for me. Now when I say ‘we’ that would be the royal ‘we’, meaning it was in fact ‘he’ who engaged a local joinery company to make up the required lengths of timber (teak) for the beds and he put them in place with the aid of some of his side-kicks while I contributed with some pointing and gesturing.
Compost from the large green bin that graces a corner of our back garden was finally put to use and was topped up with soil sourced for free – it’s probably a bit on the stoney side but sure what do I know! So far, so frugal.
I had received a packet of Butterhead (Marvel of 4 Seasons) Lettuce leaves courtesy of GIY and being a bit of a freak for following instructions I set about planting them into little seedling pots I had picked up for half nothing in Heatons. While I set about cultivating my seeds according to instructions, team kids & Dad took the fling the seeds at the soil approach.
(You can imagine what a flat-pack assembly is like chez-moi with me being OCD on starting at point No.1 Let’s just say screw-drivers should not be kept within reach.)
Team Dad had taken some advice from a wise person (everyone’s a gardener) who told them to alternate onions with the other crops to keep pests at bay but one pest we hadn’t considered however was ‘Kylie’ the family dog. With the Olympics approaching it seems she has plans for the hop, skip and jump event and it turns out that the raised beds is perfect for her training.
When I finally deemed it time to put my seedlings of leaves, strawberries etc out, I erected a flimsy but effective boundary of bamboo and string to keep Kylie the wonder-dog at bay and so far it’s working.
Tears almost spilled as I attempted to untangle various seedling roots and what entered the ground looked very weak and flimsy (spring onions, strawberries, carrots, lettuce). My beautiful lettuce seedlings just keeled over – first I thought they had died but now they’ve turned red and seem to be strengthening up somewhat so we shall see. I’ve been told by another wise person that it’s best to keep my chilli plants indoors.
I think it’s probably time I did a bit of reading up on thinning out etc. as the parsnips that I planted direct into the ground may need a bit more room if they are going to thrive. I am loath to pull out growing shoots in order to strengthen others and advice is definitely called for on what to do next.
The truth as always will be in the eating and I will report back anon when something worthy graces the table. For now I can observe that this growing lark is fun and worth the very little effort that I have given it to date and it’s amazing to see something growing in front of your eyes.
While all of this has been going on my eldest dried off some seeds from the inside of a shop bought tomato and has grown this beauty indoors – he has made gardening seem incredibly easy. Maybe some are just more natural at it than others.
Please comment with any hints, tips, advice etc. (you are also allowed to scoff and condescend if deemed necessary).
The adventure continues.
Til next time, Sheila.