In preparation for the coming of spring, I – like the birds – have been doing a bit of nesting. The beds are almost cleared. It is just the brassicas; the in ground mixed bed, although that is allowed to wait as it is my demonstration garden that I use to teach new and discouraged gardeners how to get it right, all through the season. So I will be showing my group how I go about clearing a bed of weeds in preparation for a fantabulous growing season in a week or so.
The last bed to go is the strawberries. To be fair – I have done half of the bed, but as it is in ground too, it is best to do it when the soil is dry or it is too claggy and the weeds won’t come out without bringing half of the earth with it. The problem is – it just starts to be almost ideal and then it rains again. Not a gentle pitter patter, but a full on deluge for hours and hours, leaving puddles big enough to swim in – well if it wasn’t so cold and you were a duck.
So it is safe to say at this point the garden is under control. I even mowed about the place, so it looks fresh and pristine and I can’t wait to get going. But experience tells me to wait and wait I shall. I will be a good little gardener. But there are things that can be done. Those first seeds need tender care so twice a day I am checking on their watering needs. The eggplants have popped up, so I moved the whole tray into a warm north facing window – still on its heat mat, and tucked a mirror down the back to reflect the light so the seedlings grow straight, but not too tall. Seems to be working.
But while these special seeds get to bask indoors, the rest will be relegated to the greenhouse. But I have issues with my shelving. I have been using old green click together frames with wire trays that not only came with the greenhouse before the last one and the one before that. They actually formed the structure of the old greenhouses and were wrapped with their flimsy plastic covers. While they were adequate for the previous smaller greenhouse; in the new greenhouse they seemed kind of pathetic. They were too small for the massive space I had – too narrow. And they were rusting away in the corners, held together by UV damaged plastic connectors. To be honest, I didn’t trust them to last another season.
Being the kind of person who figures things out by doing, not so much by thinking, I tried to design a new system using little pieces of paper cut to scale and sticky tape. It didn’t work out for the best. I just couldn’t visualise what I wanted to achieve. In my head I knew what I wanted, but I just couldn’t bring it to life. I think also one of my problems was I just wasn’t aware of the best materials for the job and could have spent months at the hardware store and been no better off!
I was explaining my dilemma to my Builder Extraordinaire and he said he’d design it for me and source the materials and all I needed to do was help him put it together. So I gratefully accepted his much needed help and cleared out the greenhouse of all the detritus of summer past that I had so neglectfully left where it lay when the weather turned cold. To be honest with you – the said detritus is still sat outside the greenhouse. Because to put it away in the shed would mean I had to clear that of the detris of a summer past that was dumped in there as the weather turned cold. Not ideal, but good intentions often remain just that.
Then we set about constructing my shelves. You should have seen me – not only did I use a hammer, but I used power tools too! A drill, to drill first then hammer in the nails. This is where I may have gone wrong in the past in a myriad of projects. No more split wood for me – I now know what I am doing! And then I got to use the drop saw, to cut up over a hundred lengths of wood at 610mm. I loved every minute of it. The thrill of the blade through wood, with none of the huffing and puffing of a hand saw and the element of danger… I was so careful not to place my hand beyond the point my Builder Extraordinaire pointed out lest I chop it off!
Then we screwed it all together and spaced out all the slats and now I have a greenhouse shelving system so wonderful, I can’t wait to fill it with plants, year after year after year. I feel like the luckiest gardener ever!
Come again soon – if it wasn’t so cold I would say spring is so close I could feel it.
Sarah the Gardener : o )