Weed into a bucket and other observations from the garden

After a busy period I finally got to spend an entire day in the garden and it was wonderful.  It was my birthday wish, and it didn’t disappoint.  The first half of the day was spent mowing around the garden.  The little ditty “Spring has sprung, the grass has rizz, I wonder where the lawn mower is…” is so true.  I haven’t had time to do my quick whip around with the mower and the grass sensed it and conspired against me.  I had to shove my poor mower through thickets of lush grass.  However as lush as it was, it was making the place untidy and creating the perception the garden was raging out of control.  But it’s not really, once you clear things up a little.

So as I was making my rounds I noticed a few things…

Weed into a bucket.

In my mad panic to get things done, I just ripped out weeds willy nilly and left them where they lay as I moved to the next wildly overgrown bed.  I made swift progress because I wasn’t picking up after myself.  But the thing is I never went back to scoop up the mountains of weeds.  Not for  weeks and so the end result was bald patches all over the garden paths.  I could kick my past version of me.

It looks like I've had a giant dog leaving wee messages across my garden
It looks like I’ve had a giant dog leaving wee messages across my garden

Good onion news.

This years crop has now passed the size of my worst crop of onions and so things can only get better as they still have quite some time  to go!  I must be doing something right there.

You can never be too proud of your onions
You can never be too proud of your onions

Don’t allow thistles to grow in hard to reach places.

They only get bigger and more pricklier and are a complete nightmare to extract.  The point in which the decision is made to remove them is generally with the appearance of the flower.  I do not want thousands of fluffy fairy like seed heads to scatter their way across my land to spawn their evil offspring.  Especially as I have a habit of wandering about the place barefoot in the summer.  Gosh you know about it if you stand on one of these, you  certainly know about it.

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!
Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!

Take action when you see the root

The second half of my indulgent day was spent in the greenhouse transplanting to my hearts delight!  It was such a wonderful time.  I like to ease my seedlings into big pots gradually and only take them up to a marginally bigger sized pot.  It means doing it more frequently, but it allows the plant to develop strong sturdy roots, instead of whispy, leggy ones that have raced out into a vast expanse of soil.  Shorter stockier roots will make for a stronger plant and a better anchor.  The best time to move the seedling along is when you see the roots coming out the bottom.  So check your seedlings bottoms regularly.  It may seem like extra work, but then it depends how you see things and time spent in my greenhouse is definitely not work.

Now is a good time to repot
Now is a good time to repot

Timing is important

It is so easy to race out there and put plants into the ground as soon as possible.  But plants have there own sense of timing and are pretty particular about how warm they like things to be.  I saw a classic case of this today.  About a week or so ago I planted out some kolhrabi, kale and flower sprouts into the garden – because I could.  They don’t mind things too cold and can be grown all year round in my garden.  However I had more than I needed and so I took the extras back into the warmth of the greenhouse and transplanted them into larger pots with an eye to giving them away later.  The warm cosy greenhouse ones about a week later were almost double in size.  So planting them out too early can slow growth down.  However the greenhouse ones also seemed a bit more delicate and  wouldn’t stand up to a night in the wildness.  They are a bit namby pamby and need to be hardened up before they can be planted in the soil and perform at their best.

I’ll be starting the hardening off dance this week – ‘put your best plants out, put your best plants in, put your best plants out and shake them all about…’  Then they will be ready for the big garden.  Although I suspect I may be out there in my PJs on more than one occasion returning my fragile little seedlings back to the secure warmth of the greenhouse, because my memory is shocking and I often forget about them.

Oh how the other half lives
Oh how the other half lives

Return your cups to the kitchen.

I’m a bit of a shocker here.  I drink a lot of tea but I don’t make a lot of tea.  Hubby the Un-Gardener has this amazing gift of keeping me constantly supplied with my caffeinated drink of choice.  He makes it just how I like it and delivers it to the garden just when I need it the most.  However sometimes I am so absorbed in what I am doing I get him to put it on the edge of a garden bed and I promise to get to it soon.  It invariably ends up cold with a bug floating in it, or even worse a lump of dirt which has sunk to the bottom of the cup.  That is quite disconcerting to consume a mouthful of rich yet gritty soil.  But they do say you  should eat a peck of dirt in your life, which is about 9 kilograms so I’m well on my way.  However as I’m not that great at picking up after myself in the garden, as noted by all the bald patches where the weeds were, my garden is littered with cups, some empty except for a snail that has claimed it for itself, or are half full of tea or rain.  But it would seem the supply of tea could dry up as we appear to be out of cups in the kitchen – opps!

The sight of this can make Hubby the Un-Gardener a little shouty
The sight of this can make Hubby the Un-Gardener get a little shouty

Take care of the little things.

After working hard over the last few months to clear the garden of all trace of winter weeds, there was a window of about a week where the ground was bare and it looked so lovely.  An empty bed waiting for the glory of summer is such a sight to behold – pregnant with the hope of a season. However it is also loaded with weed seeds waiting patiently to emerge.  And as the temperatures rise these little nightmares creep across the fresh soil, at first barely noticable and quickly establish a firm foothold.  These interlopers need evicting on sight.  It doesn’t take much to  run a tool over the soil and disrupt them from their purpose when they are in their infancy.  I need to discipline myself to get on to it as soon as I see it rather than mentally add them to the to do list.  That is a long list and I’ll never get around to it in good time should they find themselves on it.

These can't be allowed to stay for even a moment
These can’t be allowed to stay for even a moment

Stop, look and listen.

It is also easy to lose yourself in the busyness of what you are doing, and if you don’t stop and look around you will miss fully appreciating all you have achieved.  The garden is such a long list of things to do and just as fast as you cross things off, you are adding things to the bottom.  All gardens should have a chair in it so you can just sit and be.   I need to do this more.  The best advice I have heard for digging is to dig with your back to what you still have to do, so it doesn’t overwhelm you and you can be energized by seeing all that you have achieved so far.

Getting there
Getting there

And the winner is …

Me?!  The last part of my birthday was amazing.  Although it is hard to top an entire day uninterrupted in the garden.  I attended the Gala Dinner of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand and it was great to attend an event that required me to swap my gumboots for something fancy.  I even wore gloves in the garden so I didn’t shame myself with my garden stained fingers at such a prestigious occasion.  There I was completely blown away to be awarded with a beautiful  trophy that declared me as  the recipient of the Brightstar Emerging Speaker of the Year for 2015.  I am loving this journey I’m on with my sharing, blogging, writing, teaching and speaking, but it all started in the garden and this is where I find my happy place.  If you haven’t found it for yourself then I encourage you to give it ago – gardening is such a rewarded enterprise on so many levels and you get experience the pleasure of eating sun warmed strawberries.  What more encouragement do you need!

How beautiful is this trophy
How beautiful is this trophy

Come again soon – we are at that point where spring starts handing over the baton to summer and things can only get better!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

28 thoughts on “Weed into a bucket and other observations from the garden

    1. Yup, it got a chortle from me too… my new interest in gardening has certainly allowed my husband to brush up on his “yes-dear… whatever-makes-you-happy-makes-me-happy” skills. He IS a good man. 😉

    2. Thanks so emuch. And yeah – while he’s happy to make me cups of tea, but not so much when I don’t return the cups. I must remember to sort this out or the cuppas may stop all together!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  1. Congratulations on your award. I am only able to garden on the weekends, hence a very small garden. But I haven’t been able to get out into it for about a month, due to rain or other weekend plans. My fingers are itching every time I look out the window and see the weeds sprouting and overgrown winter plants that need to come out. Here’s to hoping this long weekend is fine and I can get my back into it today or tomorrow!

    1. Hi Miss Kitty. Sometimes getting the garden ready can be overwhelming. But once it is done it is so rewarding. I still have a bit to go, but I’m getting there. I hope you found time to get yours done this weekend.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Happy Birthday 🙂 I took a week of to spend in the garden. day 1 was overwhelming. yes! happy place, happy exciting time. congratz 🙂

  3. Congrats on the trophy, Sara. I have to admit your thread title had me wondering if there was something wrong with your toilet! Hehehe!

  4. Awe yes! Definitely weed into a bucket and then you have a lovely treat for the chickens! I so love watching your garden grow as mine goes to bed for winter! Congratulations on your very beautiful award!

  5. There is so much to love about this post, Sarah. Happy birthday! Congratulations on the well-deserved award! And most of all, I’m so happy you spent a full day in the garden. Thanks for all the great advice, today and always, and for sharing your wisdom. I love that your husband brings you cups of tea in the garden. Maybe one of the boys will make you a small, painted sign at the entrance to your house:

    Don’t Forget:

    1. Teacups
    2. Garden Tools
    3. Discarded Gloves

    Those are the things I’m known to leave behind too.


    1. Hi Helen. Sometimes the magazines can make things look too perfect, so it makes it seem too hard to do. But all you need to do is give it a whirl. Mistakes will be made – but that’s how you learn. I love sharing my garden.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  6. Happy belated birthday and many congratulations on your beautiful award.

    Mud makes me cups of coffee when I’m in the garden ……… I find them on the kitchen side some hours later when I come back in because ….. well ….. I’m not psychic!!!!!!!

    1. Thanks Elaine. That is so funny, because sometimes Hubby the Un-Gardener will leave them in the kitchen too and then say ‘oh did I forget to give that to you…sorry’ But by then it is completely cold. I guess the up side is the cup doesn’t get left in the garden!
      Cheers S : o )

    1. I love it when the whole family are out there helping me in the garden, especially the kids because it is a life skill that is being lost to many kids these days.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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