13 April 2008

labour and wait

My son tells me that I make unnecessary work . One of the many reasons for this is that I make my own plant pots from newspaper - very green, very worthy, and very modestly economical. I imagine I do it because I got the idea from one of the hand me down gardening magazines passed on to us through a friend. You can buy kits to make plant pots, but don't need to if you possess a rolling pin - you just roll pre-cut strips around the end of the pin and tuck the ends in. As I am a snob, I like to use old copies of the Financial Times , begged from my brother, just to add that extra little touch of style to the finished product. Prettier in pink, even if there is a hint of wartime utility about it.

I've come unstuck with beans before. If you plant them too early they'll rot if it's wet and cold, be killed off by late frosts or be eaten by vermin. These won't be ready to go in until mid - end May, by which time I'll probably be able to plant some out direct. I noticed yesterday at the allotment that some people are already busy putting up sticks for their bean rows. Mine won't be ready for a few weeks yet - they're tucked away in the little garden greenhouse -and we need a few warm days to get them going.

So, not much gratification yet. We'll have to wait even longer to eat the asparagus planted yesterday - 10 crowns of Dariana from Tuckers. You have to leave it in the first year while it establishes itself and be sparing in what you take in the second year. As asparagus prefers lighter weed free soils, we bought some pea shingle from the local builders and (John) dug that in with some more manure to try to break up the heavy clay a little. When we grew it at our Manor Gardens plot we collected seaweed, left it in the rain for a few weeks beforehand to wash off the excess salt and smothered the bed with it. It was great as a mulch and the plants seemed to like it. A good excuse for a visit to the seaside.

We are also going to have to wait some while for the figs from the little fig tree we planted at the back of the plot (you can just see it in the Grand Designs picture as a tiny little splash of green). We have a 20 year old fig in our garden, which is where we've been keeping this baby until the weather warmed up a bit. I'm expecting a wait of several years for it to grow up.

No problem. We can dodge the showers and watch the clouds pass over the Mudchute while we wait.

And reward ourselves when we get home.

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