Small Picture Thinking  

For the last wee while I have been Big Picture Thinking, with my drive to get spring ready.  But now we are in spring and as the garden wakes from its winter dormancy I’m finding things are moving fast.   There is no room for standing there waxing lyrical about big projects and collective tasks required to complete things. 

Native plants
It is such a relief to finally see these plants in the ground! I’ll bet they’re happy to be in the ground too!

The time has come for a list less situation where I just need to instinctively respond to what needs to be done.  It might not be seeing a chore right through to the end, but just do what needs to be done right now – to halt the march of weeds, to move seedlings on to the next stage of the process or just to pick up windswept rubbish in one corner. 

Planting around the rock
I love the way the plants look around the rock, it is just as I imagined!

The control freak in me isn’t happy about it as I like to start a task, work all the way through it to completion and stand back and admire it all proudly.  This doing a bit here and a bit there is sort of satisfying because it is a means to an end and lots of things are being tackled across the garden instead of just one.  Collectively the whole garden will benefit as eventually everything will be taken care of in good time, not just one after the other. 

Tomato seedlings
The tomato seedlings look like they are ready for a next level new home.

It started yesterday – accidentally.  I don’t normally work on a Sunday, but with a week riddled with bad weather and a weary body crying out for rest, not much was done last week.  Things were done, but just not as much as I would have liked.  So, Hubby the Un-Gardener suggested he help me out with a few things to get ahead this week.   The first job was finally planting all the small native trees I’d been picking up on special here there and everywhere for ages but never got around to planting them in the native tree wind break planting in front of the house.  They were beginning to burden me with guilt.  But they are in the ground now and I can relax – although will have to remember to water them in summer.

Tomato seedlings
The root structure on the tomato seedlings is coming along nicely.

Then he set me up planting out the first stage of The Palace.  I wasn’t going to, but the wind had swept out some of the sand around the rock and was destablising the bricks, so we decided to top it up with compost and other goodies and plant the lawn chamomile to hold it all together.  It didn’t take long and looks stunning! 

Seaweed tonic
The seedlings enjoy a good soak in seaweed tonic

Today – Monday, the first day of the week is always a busy computer gardening day and I often lose the entire morning to my keyboard.   After some lunch I decided to just let the garden tell me what needed to be done, keeping my routine concept in the back of my mind.  But the first call to action was in the greenhouse.  There were quite a few seedlings that needed moving on into bigger pots.  So, I set up my little production line where I wash the pots – I should have done this during the winter, but strangely enough time is fleeting in the winter.  Then I soaked my old plastic milk bottle labels in a jar of methylated spirits to remove the ink from crops long gone.  I prepared a deep tray of seaweed tonic and a drip tray beside it with a rack on top.   Then I sifted my coarse but only available potting mix with my handy dandy homemade out of desperation sieve, made from an ice cream container, some cable ties, and some old gutter mesh. 

Greenhouse seedlings
The greenhouse is filling up, but I suspect the mostly empty seed trays will begin to bother me if we don’t see any green action soon.

Then I slowly began the process of moving the plants that were big enough from the seed trays into small individual pots, because you don’t want to make too big a leap in pot size and it doesn’t need as much potting mix.   As each pot was filled and labelled it was immersed in the seaweed tonic from the bottom up, to settle the roots and help reduce the stress of transplant shock, then after 10 minutes or so it was lifted out to drain on the rack over the empty tray and eventually moved to a spot on the greenhouse shelf.  It took a lot longer than I had anticipated but I wasn’t in a hurry.  A good job is a job done well. 

weedy path
It doesn’t look too bad, but the weeds are starting to take over.
Non weedy path
All the weeds have been removed now and I could have raked it over, but at this stage just being weed free is good enough.

Now almost half the top shelf of the greenhouse is filled with seed trays and small seedlings.  I did hear some timely advice – about a week too late, to say that it is a good idea to sow seeds with similar expected germination times in the same trays.  Ideally using a small batch concept of grouping like with like.  Unfortunately, I have a load of seed trays that have 60 cells and is really convenient to use.  But at this point, from the early sowing sessions most of the seedlings have been moved on except one or two varieties.  Which means I have these enormous seed trays, mostly empty waiting for a row or two to pop up.   This may be a problem if they don’t pop up soon as peak spring greenhouse space is at a premium! 

Vegetables from the garden for dinner
In an attempt to clear the garden for new season crops we are eating everything we can from the garden. This lot is for tonight’s dinner.

After a good satisfying session in the greenhouse, I was considering calling it a day, but walking past sector 1 filled me with guilt.  I haven’t touched it in weeks.  So, I convinced myself to just weed the path that runs across the front and as sector 2 is sorted I can spend a little more time on it tomorrow.   I’m so pleased I did; it doesn’t look half as daunting now.

And now the day can end.

Come again soon – who knows what I’ll do next.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

11 thoughts on “Small Picture Thinking  

  1. Love the look of your lawn camomile. I’m thinking of replacing the last of my grass with this. Did you buy a whole lot of plants? Or maybe you can grow them from seed? Would it work for an area that gets walked on?

    1. I sowed seed. They were really tiny seeds and I have been nurturing them for months and months and transplanted them several times so they eventually ended up in their own pots. The main reason they were in pots for so long is their spot wasn’t ready for them for a lot longer than I anticipated. Apparently it can be walked on – but needs about a year to settle in before heavy traffic. I just like the way it looks and don’t expect it to be walked on – but it also smells amazing when touched! : o)

  2. Great work Sarah and glad you listened to your body. I am going to sow all. My seeds in those jiffy expanding capsules. That way I can transplant into the garden with no damage. Snow peas, zuchhini and cucumbers hopefully plus, some sweet peas too. Nothing ventured, plus I accidently over ordered with click and collect in lock down so I have 72 of them!!!!

  3. You run quite the operation, Sarah. It’s extraordinary what you get done. I can’t wait till your plants are established. I love ogling a full garden. Best of luck with all of it.

    1. Sometimes I wonder how I make it all happen, but when you just put one foot in front of the other, it seems things get done. I don’t think I could ever not do it – I couldn’t imagine a life without fresh home grown veggies. : o)

  4. I would say that the rock looks silly, but it actually looks more convincing than most. Gee! We get boulders added to some of our landscapes, and they supposedly look good. However, they are granite, so were obviously imported. (There is no granite here, and the nearest granite is a few miles to the north.) No one seem to mind or even notice that they are not natural.

    1. Strangely enough it seems to work – maybe because I used the sand from the garden to mix with the cement so the color is in the right tone. Something brown or with shades of orange would have looked so out of place. : o)

      1. You would think that the cement in the concrete would make it a bit too gray, but then, I suppose rocks should be more gray than the surrounding soil. Serpentinite is a common boulder in some regions here, and what I remember from where I went to school. (California is very geologically diverse.) It starts out green, but decomposes into oxidized ‘red rock’ gravel, with decomposes into rich dark brown soil. Somehow it all works, but might look odd to those who are unfamiliar with it.

        1. Our sand is black because it is full of iron so a grey rock made with black sand looks perfect. I grew up near a black sand beach and thought it was normal. I didn’t see golden white sandy beaches until in my teens! : o)

          1. As geologically diverse as California is, the beaches are all the same sandy color. Actually, the same sandy color extends into Mexico and Canada.

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