Now the garden has been planted out, it is easy to think, Nah… I’ll leave it for today, the garden doesn’t really need me. Or I’ve worked hard up to this point, and it is the lull time before the harvest, so I deserve a break. But the key to managing a garden as big as mine is to chip away at it, take care of it with a little and often approach. I have my sector system where Monday is the first row and Tuesday the second etc etc. But in the process of getting the garden planted out, everything went out the window and I was just dealing with the most urgent thing in front of me and bouncing from one task to the next, all willy nilly. And leaving a trail of chaos behind me.
I have decided that I just need to do 5 things in the garden each day – no matter how big or small. Once I’m in the garden I find I’m away and lose all sense of time and relish a task I can sink my teeth into. Today I did 5 tasks (although technically it was 4 and a half as I didn’t get the last one finished.)
The first thing I did was a long overdue task. I had attempted to grow peanuts from store bought raw natural peanuts. But the seed tray method in the greenhouse let me down twice. I’m not sure why as in previous years it has been a successful process. In a last-ditch effort, I put them in moist paper towel in a zip lock bag in a warm place. It didn’t take long for them to germinate, but it took a little longer for me to get around to planting them. Today was their lucky day – I popped them straight into the garden. Fingers crossed they like it there and continue on their journey.
Then I took care of the needs of Sector 1, the Monday row. This included nipping the kikuyu grass that tries to climb under the fence in the bud, hoeing the paths, weeding the beds – not that there are many weeds at this stage and then take care of any of the extra needs. I popped some marigolds in the corners of the tomato bed as I hadn’t got around to it yet and changed the lure in the rat trap. Then I supported my flopping cosmos in the cut flower bed with the help of the bucket handles I had saved from the buckets I turned into pots back in the autumn.
Then the third thing I decided to do was succession plant some sunflower seeds along the row of existing sunflowers that were transplanted from seedlings. They got a bit leggy in the greenhouse, so I thought I’d pop more in to ensure some of them managed to get tall before flowering!
Then I decided to tackle a bit of the mess I had made in the rush to get things planted out. To do it all in one go would be a tad overwhelming, but if I take the little and often approach I can just slowly and steadily take care of things. So today I gathered together all of the used pots from all over the garden and stacked them together in a tray so they are all tidy and ready to be washed on a day when it feels like it would be a good thing to do.
The fifth and last task I tackled was the biggest of the day and most pressing. I needed to create a cage / net structure over the strawberries to stop the birds. They have stolen the lot. I’m trying not to think of how many they’ve stolen. I tell myself that those early ones that haven’t been kissed by a warm sun aren’t as nice as the ones that are still to come. The first thing I did was give the bed a good thorough weed as some cheeky ones had snuck in there. The soil was a little hard and historically this bed bakes in the heat of summer. To reduce the risk of this, I loosened the soil a little with a hand fork and for a bit of extra love worked in some blood and bone. Then I got the hose out and gave the bed a deep watering and laid down compost as mulch. It does work well as a mulch and should protect the soil and retain moisture but it won’t be as good looking as a straw mulch, but that is all I have on hand, so it is what I used.
Then I gathered the supplies to make the cage – rebar poles cut to 1 metre lengths and 3 metre lengths of irrigation hose. I banged the rebar into the garden, so they were all at the same height at 40cm above soil level. Then I popped the irrigation pipes over each pair, stood back and admired my work. Then realised it was late and I was tired, so I stopped. Tomorrow I will put the net over and maybe within the week I’ll get some juicy red sun kissed berries.
Come again soon – tomorrow will have another 5 things to do.
Sarah the gardener : o)