After a busy period I finally got to spend an entire day in the garden and it was wonderful. It was my birthday wish, and it didn’t disappoint. The first half of the day was spent mowing around the garden. The little ditty “Spring has sprung, the grass has rizz, I wonder where the lawn mower is…” is so true. I haven’t had time to do my quick whip around with the mower and the grass sensed it and conspired against me. I had to shove my poor mower through thickets of lush grass. However as lush as it was, it was making the place untidy and creating the perception the garden was raging out of control. But it’s not really, once you clear things up a little.
So as I was making my rounds I noticed a few things…
Weed into a bucket.
In my mad panic to get things done, I just ripped out weeds willy nilly and left them where they lay as I moved to the next wildly overgrown bed. I made swift progress because I wasn’t picking up after myself. But the thing is I never went back to scoop up the mountains of weeds. Not for weeks and so the end result was bald patches all over the garden paths. I could kick my past version of me.
Good onion news.
This years crop has now passed the size of my worst crop of onions and so things can only get better as they still have quite some time to go! I must be doing something right there.
Don’t allow thistles to grow in hard to reach places.
They only get bigger and more pricklier and are a complete nightmare to extract. The point in which the decision is made to remove them is generally with the appearance of the flower. I do not want thousands of fluffy fairy like seed heads to scatter their way across my land to spawn their evil offspring. Especially as I have a habit of wandering about the place barefoot in the summer. Gosh you know about it if you stand on one of these, you certainly know about it.
Take action when you see the root
The second half of my indulgent day was spent in the greenhouse transplanting to my hearts delight! It was such a wonderful time. I like to ease my seedlings into big pots gradually and only take them up to a marginally bigger sized pot. It means doing it more frequently, but it allows the plant to develop strong sturdy roots, instead of whispy, leggy ones that have raced out into a vast expanse of soil. Shorter stockier roots will make for a stronger plant and a better anchor. The best time to move the seedling along is when you see the roots coming out the bottom. So check your seedlings bottoms regularly. It may seem like extra work, but then it depends how you see things and time spent in my greenhouse is definitely not work.
Timing is important
It is so easy to race out there and put plants into the ground as soon as possible. But plants have there own sense of timing and are pretty particular about how warm they like things to be. I saw a classic case of this today. About a week or so ago I planted out some kolhrabi, kale and flower sprouts into the garden – because I could. They don’t mind things too cold and can be grown all year round in my garden. However I had more than I needed and so I took the extras back into the warmth of the greenhouse and transplanted them into larger pots with an eye to giving them away later. The warm cosy greenhouse ones about a week later were almost double in size. So planting them out too early can slow growth down. However the greenhouse ones also seemed a bit more delicate and wouldn’t stand up to a night in the wildness. They are a bit namby pamby and need to be hardened up before they can be planted in the soil and perform at their best.
I’ll be starting the hardening off dance this week – ‘put your best plants out, put your best plants in, put your best plants out and shake them all about…’ Then they will be ready for the big garden. Although I suspect I may be out there in my PJs on more than one occasion returning my fragile little seedlings back to the secure warmth of the greenhouse, because my memory is shocking and I often forget about them.
Return your cups to the kitchen.
I’m a bit of a shocker here. I drink a lot of tea but I don’t make a lot of tea. Hubby the Un-Gardener has this amazing gift of keeping me constantly supplied with my caffeinated drink of choice. He makes it just how I like it and delivers it to the garden just when I need it the most. However sometimes I am so absorbed in what I am doing I get him to put it on the edge of a garden bed and I promise to get to it soon. It invariably ends up cold with a bug floating in it, or even worse a lump of dirt which has sunk to the bottom of the cup. That is quite disconcerting to consume a mouthful of rich yet gritty soil. But they do say you should eat a peck of dirt in your life, which is about 9 kilograms so I’m well on my way. However as I’m not that great at picking up after myself in the garden, as noted by all the bald patches where the weeds were, my garden is littered with cups, some empty except for a snail that has claimed it for itself, or are half full of tea or rain. But it would seem the supply of tea could dry up as we appear to be out of cups in the kitchen – opps!
Take care of the little things.
After working hard over the last few months to clear the garden of all trace of winter weeds, there was a window of about a week where the ground was bare and it looked so lovely. An empty bed waiting for the glory of summer is such a sight to behold – pregnant with the hope of a season. However it is also loaded with weed seeds waiting patiently to emerge. And as the temperatures rise these little nightmares creep across the fresh soil, at first barely noticable and quickly establish a firm foothold. These interlopers need evicting on sight. It doesn’t take much to run a tool over the soil and disrupt them from their purpose when they are in their infancy. I need to discipline myself to get on to it as soon as I see it rather than mentally add them to the to do list. That is a long list and I’ll never get around to it in good time should they find themselves on it.
Stop, look and listen.
It is also easy to lose yourself in the busyness of what you are doing, and if you don’t stop and look around you will miss fully appreciating all you have achieved. The garden is such a long list of things to do and just as fast as you cross things off, you are adding things to the bottom. All gardens should have a chair in it so you can just sit and be. I need to do this more. The best advice I have heard for digging is to dig with your back to what you still have to do, so it doesn’t overwhelm you and you can be energized by seeing all that you have achieved so far.
And the winner is …
Me?! The last part of my birthday was amazing. Although it is hard to top an entire day uninterrupted in the garden. I attended the Gala Dinner of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand and it was great to attend an event that required me to swap my gumboots for something fancy. I even wore gloves in the garden so I didn’t shame myself with my garden stained fingers at such a prestigious occasion. There I was completely blown away to be awarded with a beautiful trophy that declared me as the recipient of the Brightstar Emerging Speaker of the Year for 2015. I am loving this journey I’m on with my sharing, blogging, writing, teaching and speaking, but it all started in the garden and this is where I find my happy place. If you haven’t found it for yourself then I encourage you to give it ago – gardening is such a rewarded enterprise on so many levels and you get experience the pleasure of eating sun warmed strawberries. What more encouragement do you need!
Come again soon – we are at that point where spring starts handing over the baton to summer and things can only get better!
Sarah the Gardener : o )