For the last week it has been windy and raining with heaps of scary thunder and lightning. The ground went all soggy and boggy. Then finally the clouds cleared – well enough to create the illusion of an end to it all and we even got a beautiful rainbow to show that it was all over.
So there was one thing for it. It was Saturday; I hadn’t got my hands dirty in ages so on with the gumboots, beanie and gloves. It felt so good, the sun was shining weakly through the clouds, the ground had dried out a little – there was no longer surface water lying about and I was in my element.
The first job was repotting seedlings that I had begun to develop guilt issues over. They had been in their seed trays for so long I was sure they would be root bound. But luckily not – well not too bad anyway. Then the winter tomatoes where planted into their final winter abode – into buckets filled with so many goodies and nutrients that words my mum always said to us when we had lots of sweets sprung to mind and I hope they not eat them all at once!
At this point the tomatoes look very healthy. They even have flowers. The best one is one that self-seeded in the garden in the summer and looked like an ideal candidate for my winter greenhouse tomato undertaking, but I have no idea what it will be as I grew 10 varieties of tomato over the summer, so I shall have to wait and see. I also sowed seed from my favourite summer cherry tomato – strawberry tomato. I grew it in the greenhouse last year and it was really successful and all the sweeter for the slow growing that plants tend to do in the winter.
The problem is I couldn’t help myself and I sowed 6 and they all grew and now they are all strong, with flowers on them. It is not practical space wise in the greenhouse to grow them all so I selected the 3 strongest – more than I originally planned and put them in buckets. But when I looked at the other 3 just sitting there, I just couldn’t allow fate to take its course – I couldn’t let them die on the compost heap, so I potted them up into 10cm pots and will see how they do as a kind of bonsai tomato. Better to die as a result of a misguided experiment that had a remote possibility of working than to just die as waste.
Next I turned my attention to the mesculun tray that was burgeoning with more seedlings than was ideal for its size. The time had come to plant them out into the big old garden. Working in my favour with these salad plants is they actually prefer cooler weather and things grow slower in the winter, so they shouldn’t bolt to seed in a hurry and may even last us all winter. Having said that I have no idea what frost will do to them.
Once all this was done I was knackered. I looked to the sky and it looked like there was a chance it may rain again, so instead of going to the effort of pulling out the hose or lugging heavy watering cans, I figured it would take care of itself. But when I went out this morning to check I found it hadn’t and my seedlings were still lying on their sides waiting for some kind of revival. Then ever so briefly a burst of rain came in thick and fast on an angle with fat raindrops, only to vanish as quickly as it came leaving behind that thin winter sun that we have begun to grow grateful for at this time of year.
Come again soon – who knows what it’ll be like, you just never know where you are with the weather in the autumn.
Sarah the Gardener : o )