You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve been AWOL for a while. At the start of the season, it was never my intention. This was going to be that perfect season in my garden. I had it all planned. I wasn’t building any part of the vegetable garden, technically everything was done and ready to go. I was going to waft through the season and casually, with no stress at all, dig in the cover crops and enrich the beds with enough time for all the goodies to be worked into the soil by the worms and other beneficial soil organisms that will appreciate my efforts.
Meanwhile I would sow seeds in my greenhouse, on the new shelves that were perfectly timed and perfect for the job. I would waft in and out daily to keep the soil moist and check regularly for signs of life. Then in an orderly fashion I would repot seedlings as required into larger pots, a couple of times each if necessary, using the compost and potting mix that I had pre-ordered and was just waiting to be used.
Then once the time was right, somewhere around mid-October, I was envisioning planting things out into the garden beds to the tunes of some lovely classical music. I’m not a great classic music fan, but the situation always feels appropriate to have the correct soundtrack. Because we don’t get frosts, I was hoping to sneak a few plants in even earlier. I had worked hard on planting maps for each garden bed and had them at the ready so everything would take its correct place.
And finally, I would stand back and weed and water without a care in the world and all would grow before my eyes and it would be wonderful. I would then arrive at Christmas relaxed, refreshed with a home-grown festive menu.
Now you may notice in these previous paragraphs there was a lot of language that falls easily into ‘shoulda, woulda and coulda’. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan.
The first problem was a cold that left me bedridden for a week and a six-week recovery. On top of this an ankle I twisted back in January was in the final stages of medical treatment with the words ‘Ooooh you’ve done a lot of soft tissue damage, stay off it for a week’ uttered a couple of times. This put paid to the cover crop digging in and pre enriching of the beds with all the goodies I had set aside ready to go. Next season I am going to chop and drop in the middle of winter, none of this digging in nonsense. The books and magazines casually say, ‘just dig it in’. It isn’t easy and is more like herding kittens.
Then tragedy struck, and this was what really pulled the plug on gardening and all social media for a while. My dad fought a very fast and vicious battle with cancer, and he was gone within six short weeks. Fortunately, we were able to make the long drive south and saw him a couple of times to tell him we loved him. It was a difficult time. I lost the desire to garden for a while, my health delays had made the garden seem to be overwhelming and I just needed to put one foot in front of the other.
During this time the weather did not do what it was supposed to do. It didn’t stick with the plan. It has been the worst spring ever. The weather was all over the place, hot one day, freezing the next and then there were the actual storms. I lost count, I know it was more than 3 and less than 5, but it was the wind that was the most devastating. I put my peppers out a little early and a couple of days later they were gone. Their poor wee leaves had the life whipped out of them. I held back on planting out the rest of them but couldn’t wait forever. I finally got them out a couple of day ago and then this morning we got hail like I’ve never seen before.
However, not all the delays to the garden were a bad thing. I also had the good fortune to be spend ten days traveling the country and visiting gardens of national and international significance. It was amazing and such a privilege. I hope to share more about this in blog posts to come. But while I was off gallivanting around the country, my poor garden waited some more.
As mentioned above I spent the last few days planting things out, after beds were hastily turned over and enriched by Hubby the Un-Gardener and teenage boys who are faster and better at it than me and plants and seeds were finally in their places, where they should be, according to the plan. I made a quick video trying to explain it all while I did a bit of planting. You can check it out here:
There was no casual wafting. This season has been a hard slog. But summer is 18 days away and I’m just hoping I will find myself wafting about the garden in a summer frock, once I get all the spring jobs done. Here’s hoping.
Come again soon – I need to reclaim a routine and get things back to some kind of normal.
Sarah the Gardener : o)