With less than a week left of spring, it is pretty much safe to say the garden is all but done. There are a few bits and pieces left to do, like sort out the flowers – but they don’t really count and only one of the Cannellino beans came up and that just won’t do. You can’t survive the winter on the heart-warming minestrone soups with the nutty taste of a cannollino bean from the produce of just one plant. So, I have to poke a few extra seeds in. Aside from these simple tasks, the garden can be called done.
It is a satisfying feeling to wander among the beds and see the plants really begin to come into their own and begin to fill the space. In particular the corn bed. Those poor seedlings have been waiting quite some time to be liberated from their small pots. And with their planting the garden can be called done.
The herb bed is looking lush as the annuals make themselves at home among the permanent residents. I should probably pop in a few coriander seeds as the others will go to seed soon as this temperature rises.
The leafy greens and cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins have noticeably grown in the last week alone. Before we know it, the cucumbers and gherkins will scramble up the netting, like the peas have done. It is amazing how tall the tall peas can get. It won’t be long before there will be peas there – possibly for Christmas.
The early Hunter River White Onions are beginning to fall over, meaning they are ready, and the Pukekohe Longkeepers are bulbing up nicely. The garlic still has rust, and I’m at the point where I’m just going to live with it until the bitter end and hope for the best. It seems like a race, as early one variety looked like it was doing well, only to be surpassed by another. The proof will be in the harvest, so I will reserve judgement until the sorry day when I dig it up.
The tomatoes are now tall enough to tie into the first rung. It really feels like they are no longer babies and are independently heading off to preschool, and bringing me home flowers to be proud of. Although this metaphor doesn’t really work well as they aren’t really expressing their independence as I am restraining them to a wire so they will do what I want them to do.
The wheat I harvested out of the now zucchini bed has dried nicely and I’ve been chopping it into manageable lengths so I can position it easily around the strawberries. This is no mean feat and I have had to break it up into short periods, because I’m doing it in the greenhouse as that is where all the wheat is, and it gets pretty hot in there. And the other thing, I am so grateful for the right tool for the job. I’ve done this before with secateurs, but as the bottom blade isn’t so much a blade, but in this instance a ‘mashing’ tool. It gets the job done, but not well. Ordinary scissors work well but when used repetitively to open and close the blade can lead to a bit of an ache in the hand. My favourite ones come as part of a Gardena Garden Tool Kit and have a satisfying snip and an amazing little spring between the blades taking the effort out of my hands. Then of course we have to remember that I am probably the only gardener crazy enough to manually cut up 5 square metres of straw mulch to please my strawberries.
Now I can take my mind off the garden itself my focus has shifted to my plants in pots. I have way more of these than I normally do. But because we will be moving, I want to be able to see the harvest from certain crops, so they have found their way into containers, so they can come with me to the new place. They don’t take up much room right now, but need to be transferred into bigger pots so they can comfortably see out the season. Container plants require a lot of extra attention, compared to in ground plants. They are completely dependent on me for food and water. Historically I haven’t been good at this and most container plants end up in a withered sorry state, and barely make it to the end of the season, before expiring of neglect. But these ones are supposed to be keepers so I have to lift my game.
There is a bizarre sense of completion at this early stage of the garden’s life. As I look around and see order and control across the garden, a few areas call my attention. All that is really left for me to do aside from weeding, watering and regular feeding, is start the end of season spring clean. I need to wash all the pots, tidy the shed where the detritus of spring has been carelessly discarded, with the good intentions of sorting it out later. The greenhouse is completely bare now and devoid of plants. It is too hot in there now for plants to thrive, and besides outside is more than adequate for the things I have growing on. So all that is left to do in there is to sweep it up.
Come again soon – there is still plenty to do as we move into summer – just different to what I’ve been doing up until now.
Sarah the Gardener : o)