I went to the garden centre with my dad and sister today and did something I don’t normally do: I bought plants. Dad had bought an elephant stuffy off me for his wife so I had spare cash.
The bag of first early seed potatoes I bought was reduced anyway; they’ve started to sprout. I need to get my potato bags out and lay out the potatoes so all of them develop their eyes in to shoots.
I also bought some leek plants. I wouldn’t ordinarily do that, you get more seeds in a pack, but I don’t need all that many nor do I have the space for them. There are 22 young plants in the tray. More than enough for me. I bought a variety of that has an extended planting period of March to August and a harvesting period of October to March so I’m planning to plant two or three every couple of weeks to spread the harvest. I struggle with too much digging (screwed up back) so I have a cunning plan (in addition to planting in intervals). Toilet roll centres placed just a centimeter in to the soil, then drop the plants in. They have compost around the roots already and should head in to the soil beneath, and the toilet rolls will support them as they grow, and will eventually rot in to the soil.
There were also some individual tomato plants on sale at the garden centre but it’s too early yet for tomatoes. The weather doesn’t make it above 10°C at the minute, too cold for toms outside. And I haven’t got the bracket installed for the tomato hanger yet, or any compost. It’s on the list of things to get next time I see dad. He’s my driver and handy man when he visits. My sister isn’t much of a gardener, though she likes the finished results, so when we go out she wants to look at totally different things. The only thing we all agree on is the necessity of coffee and cake.
If you read my post about polytheism whilst poor, I should add another tip for cultivating a garden: plants don’t mind too much when you put them in the ground, they just want to be in the ground, so getting reduced seed potatoes, onion sets, slightly battered trays of baby veg plants, or plants from the sale area, is a good way to start if you only have a small space. If you have an allotment or bigger garden seeds are more cost effective. They need a little extra care for the first few weeks but once established they’ll do their thing as well as a full price plant. Also, never buy from a garden centre unless you can get multiple plants for your money through splitting or cuttings. Plants want to grow, your job is to provide the conditions for that and you’ll be rewarded with food, flowers or both. Oh yes, that’s another thing, edible flowering plants make a good addition, and can usually be bought cheaply as seed. My favourites are nasturtiums, Tropaeolum majus, which are pretty and every part is edible. It has a slight peppery taste. They’re easy to grow from seed. Spread on the soil where you want them to flower, cover lightly with compost, water, leave.
Another thought occurs. Has anyone heard of seed bombing or guerilla gardening? It’s where you take an unloved piece of ground and make it bloom. Seed bombing involves mixing easy growing, self-seeding plants with compost and delivering it to the site in a degradable bag that will burst on impact. Some time later, provided it’s undisturbed, flowers and veg (if included in the bomb) will appear. Guerilla gardening is a little more involved in that the piece of land is actively worked at night by the gardener. Choosing a piece of ‘waste’land and caring for it is as much an act of devotion as pouring expensive alcohol into an offering cup.
Time for tea now, beef and veg stew with extra veg on the side.
Have a good weekend and enjoy the equinox if you celebrate it.