Historically I have been absolutely terrible with keeping plants in pots and containers. There is so much pleasure and joy found tending the garden that I seem to run out of time for the small pot bound plants, not as in out grown with encircled roots, but bound as in confined without the freedom of sending their roots off at will in a direction that will bring them much needed moisture and nutrients.
These poor plants sit on the sidelines of the garden and watch the stars of the show go from strength to strength creating a bountiful harvest and hold their heads up high to the sun with a glimmer of pride bouncing off their radiant green leaves. In comparison the potted crew hang their heads in sadness and disappointment at their lot, as they wilt in the midday sun. Occasionally I remember them and have given them a place in my weekly schedule. I even put them in the Monday slot to increase the chances of quality care. Putting them down for a bit of Friday love would doom them!
However, as the summer heats up and the harvest from the main garden begins in earnest, even a prominent spot in the schedule doesn’t save them and they normally expire alone and neglected in a weedy corner of the garden after hearing “I’m so sorry, I’ll get to you soon…” one too many times. I feel horribly guilty as I clearly have to admit I love the independent free thinking plants a touch more than the needier, high maintenance containerised ones.
The thing is – if I’m honest, the Monday thing probably isn’t enough. Plants in small pots can dry out in an afternoon in the right conditions! Any attempt at growing will result in depleted nutrients in the soil that was once a rich blend of everything a plant could want to grow well. Then like baby birds in a nest, they look hopefully to me for a bite to eat each time I go passed. Maybe they do need to make noise.
(On a side note I once bought my Mum a bird shaped pot plant water detector that would chirp loudly if the pot got low on moisture. It was all very cute and she loved it…. Until it went off at 3am! I slipped further down the list of favourite child that night.)
With the horror of all this carnage behind me, this season I am trying so hard to keep these wee ones alive, because I want to take them with me to the new place. I have a couple of Giant Pumpkins that need to do well as I’m in the Giant Pumpkin competition again and I just have to do better than the dismal 1kg I had last year. Then there are about 60 strawberry runners I have an emotional attachment to – they are all the progeny of the first 6 strawberry plants I ever grew when we were city bound. Back in those days it was much easier to manage a large pot of strawberries by itself.
I also have a collection of raspberry plants that I put a lot of research into and then searched far and wide for just the right ones and were never planted. They weren’t cheap so they are coming too. I also have peppers as the harvest doesn’t really kick in until early next year and the spot they should be going into still has stuff in it anyway so we’d still be waiting about to plant them anyway.
Oh and we can’t forget the asparagus. Without any preconceived ideas, last autumn I started off a load of asparagus seeds, not knowing I would actually need them – I did it more because I could. Now I am doing my best to keep these treasures alive and they will find a home with us beside the sea. You can’t waste a moment of time with asparagus as they take so long to establish and having eaten fresh asparagus and realised how wonderful they are, I wouldn’t be without them! I also have a motley collection of other bits and bobs.
Keeping them not only alive but well has proved interesting. But we’ve had a lot on – more than just the garden this season, and there are probably 10x more of them, so their collective yell of “feed me” is noticed.
I have taken the matter more seriously. There is a greater priority. These are the pioneers and founding fathers of the new garden so to speak. And we need to make the journey to settling in the new land as least traumatic as possible. I have invested in these plants. I went out and purchased a load of ‘underbed’ storage containers because they are low, and wide and perfect for plants. Then I filled them as tightly as I could without creating bad airflow problems and positioned them near the tap. They were down by the greenhouse and it was a case of out of sight out of mind, but now they are up on the deck for all to see.
My new Terrace Hose Box is perfect for the job, as I can easily reach all of the plants without having to drag the long hose over from the garden. I can tell you now if I had to go to serious effort to get something done during this crazy stage of our life, it won’t get done. Having a short hose on a reel right where I need it is such a blessing. I could even ask someone else to give them a squirt as they wandered by. This may even be a handy technique if we need a minder – they wouldn’t need to come every day and you could tell them to fill the ‘underbed’ storage container to a certain level. Why didn’t I think of this before?
And with that – my potted plants will be the best they have ever been, but just being alive at this stage is a win.
Come again soon – there is so much excitement to be had I don’t know where to start.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
NB: Check with your local council before watering your garden to see if there are any water restrictions this summer.