It has dragged on to be a planting out week, and I’m still not finished. I really wanted to have a Taa Daa moment and reveal a gorgeous garden all planted out, weed free and nicely mowed. But alas no, this is not possible. The main cause it’s the rotten weather. This spring has been cold, yucky and stormy with the odd great day thrown in as a tease. And just to add insult to injury the mower is dead. We have to decide is it worth replacing or repairing.
I have spent more days staring out a rain streaked window wishing to be gardening than I have been able to be out there and getting my hands dirty. Although in desperation I planted my tomatoes on the official tomato planting day – in the rain. It wasn’t pleasant.
The much awaited long weekend started out promising. It had all the hallmarks of a great spring day – cloudless blue skies, a hot baking sun, not a breath of wind and loads of happy birds chirping in the trees. It was magic. So I set about constructing all my structures. The tomatoes are strung on wire held by warratah stakes. However I have made improvements on last year as under the weight of the tomatoes the whole thing sagged, so I have included a tensioner to my system. Fingers crossed this works.
Then I constructed netting for my cucumbers and melons to grow up, but knowing how much they hate cold weather, they are still cosy in the greenhouse waiting for sunnier days. This all took most of the day and so with the hope of another wonderful day – I went to bed tired but excited for planting out. But the weather turned – about as far as it could go. Cold, wet and miserable and it hasn’t really let up since.
So there I was determinedly planting out my tomatoes. To be fair – if I left them much longer they would have become root bound and on the bright side – the transplant shock was reduced and I didn’t need to water them in. In a break in the rain I also planted my brassicas and leafy greens so I feel like things are coming along.
Those chirpy birds in the trees are no longer a delight to the ears. They are now considered nuisance. The cheeky bug-gers have been eating my leaves. The peas and brassicas. I’ve never known them to do this to my garden before. I am wondering if I put up a bird feeder would I distract them from my leaves or would I just be providing them with a main course to follow their salad starter?
So today I decided enough was enough. It maybe blowing a gale, but it wasn’t raining – much. So I wrapped up warm and headed out to the garden. I was determined to get stuff done! I was getting withdrawals and my seedlings were beginning to protest at their confinement in pots that are fast becoming too small.
I sowed my corn and constructed my corn protection device. It serves several purposes. First I measure out the correct spacing for good corn growth and bang in nails around the edge of the bed. Then I create a grid with string and sow a couple of seeds at each intersection. I only want one at each point but I don’t want to have gaps to fill as it would be hard to get in there with structure stage two in the way. The string grid should also deter feline poopers and bird scratcher uppers. I also sowed a dozen extra seeds along the edge – just in case.
Then the corn bed got some height as I used bamboo poles and string to create a ‘Wind Effect Reduction Mechanism’. Actually it’s quite simple. A couple of layers of string are wrapped around the poles to create a multi-layered grid so if the wind does try and blow my corn stalks down – it can’t go far and can be easily fixed. This has been born out of experience and necessity. The wind is almost guaranteed to come when the tassels are releasing the pollen on to the silks and if the corn stalks are on a lean then you get a strip on the bottom of all the cobs with no kernels and I’m not keen to have that happen again.
I also started to harvest my wheat. The stalks have fattened up, but there is no heads so they won’t become a weed when I dry them to use as mulch. I only managed about a quarter of the bed. It wasn’t really hard work but I was starting to feel a bit knackered and felt it was about time to pack it in for the day. Now I’m inside with my feet up and my hands are clean again, feeling that lovely glow of having done a good days work. However when I read back over what I’ve done it doesn’t seem like much at all and there is still loads left to do.
Come again soon – the boffins say it will rain again tomorrow, but they are probably lying so I’ll ignore them and plan another productive day in the garden.
Sarah the Gardener : o )