Sunday 9 June 2013

Contrary Gardening part 2

Friendly rake...
As promised here are some gardening notes from my attempts over the past week. I must confess we have had a hysterical time up on the roof with garden euphemisms coming out of our watering cans. And after vigorous forking for a couple of sunny evenings, I must confess I'm both beyond the dirty sniggers and as stiff as a rake.

So what have we been up to? On Monday night J and I purchased something slightly stronger implements than cutlery - as well as some actual cutlery to replace the ones we had trashed on Sunday night. The tube saw us venture back to the flat with a fork, trowel and small hand fork; happily we didn't meet any angry mobs on the central line.

Rake in action, err...
Heading upstairs we tentatively attacked the weeds and the heavy claggy lumps of soil. My aim was to get the ground reduced to fine breadcrumb texture but by late Tuesday evening we just wanted it turned over and weeded. By Thursday V had obtained a rake (found the high class Kew approved flanĂȘur on Oxford Street) and this improved the ground greatly.

Watering for ladies...
That was the ground. But how do you know how much space a carrot needs? Or how many marrows can I fit in? Do 8 broccolis (broccolii?) really need 6m of garden? I'll be honest, I'd never considered these questions in great depth before but Mr Sutton of seeds fame has. This free gadget on their site allows you to pop in your gardens vital stats and then click and point virtual veg into your plot. It works out when you should have started and when dinner is served. That is to say, ASAP (June) and not soon enough.

As an experiment I planted peas, broccoli, carrots and beetroot and sadly it
didn't look like a garden, let alone anything like the plan. What we needed was actual greenery. So as a cheating alternative I purchased some ready made little bean, cauliflower and sprout plants. I added some fruit bushes and finally, as V so eloquently pointed out, today the garden finally looked like a garden.

Given that the beans will take a while to get to their 50cm height, I've added a row of cheeky lettuce. Seems a shame to waste lovely prepared soil.

So the things I have learned so far:

1. Proper tools are quite important. No, kitchen implements are not adequate
2. You can never dig over the ground too many times
3. Oh. Add the bone meal *before* you start digging. Also ensure flatmate ISN'T down wind when scattering it
4. Put labels on your plant rows
5. Put your plants in rows
6. Ignore the plan
7. Seeds are pretty and very small
8. Get down to the garden centre before the hoards did, probably a few weeks back
9. Growing stuff isn't a cheap option
10. Cutting and eating your own, first crop of lettuce is an epic feeling!

It turns out my flatmate doesn't like getting dirty but she provides emergency lemonade. Which is a win.

And Pimms!

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