It is amazing how much you can get done when everything is pointing in the right direction. Yesterday I was very intentional with my objectives. All my urgent affairs had been taken care of, the weather was suitable for a spell of pleasant autumnal gardening and there was nothing standing in my way. The garden had my undivided attention for the first time in a long time.
As I stood on the deck looking out over the garden I had to decide where to start. It has become quite a weedy mess in many areas. And there are spent crops that need clearing away and cover crops to sow across the garden. I was torn between starting in one corner and working my way methodically across the garden or starting with the easy bits.
The easy bits won out. I would be able to make greater progress by doing the easy bits first, which in turn is encouraging and motivating. Had I started with the first corner, the job would have been well done, however in the grand scheme of things barely noticeable, and in the meantime the easy bits would slide into a more difficult to tackle weedy mess.
The first easy bit was the garlic bed. I had recently spent time planting it out and it is now showing signs of life, which is fabulous. There are a few gaps, but they are still emerging, so I won’t worry about popping in a few extras just yet. But the weeds had also shown their faces and when you use home made compost the weeds are often interesting things like pumpkins and tomatoes. You aren’t supposed to put seeds in the compost, but surely that doesn’t apply to the kitchen scraps… If I had to remove the seeds from the scraps, it would become such a hassle, that I’d never compost anything from the kitchen. But they are easy enough to recognise and pull out. There were also a few beans that had popped up from the ones that escaped my harvest basket.
As I went around the garden tending to the easy bits, I also made a point of hoeing the paths around the bed so everything in the vicinity looked like it was in some sort of control. Some beds, like the kumara just needed a tickle – a few weeds pulled out. The kumara should be almost ready to harvest and its leaves should be fading to yellow, but it is looking the most luscious it has all season, so if it wants to keep going, who am I to stop it?
I have a stack of seeds on the corner of my desk that need sowing – or resowing. They have sat there for weeks. So, in the spirit of good intentions, I took the top packet – carrots and sowed a new succession row beside the previous row that sowed goodness knows when, but not that long ago. So long as I have the right variety, they can be grown all year round. It felt satisfying to get that done.
Another easy job – so I thought would be to weed the old overflow onion bed and sow a cover crop. However, I discovered there were some self-seeded young leeks lingering there. I’d left the seed heads on some bolted leeks as they were so tactile and at the perfect height for giving a little pat as I walked past. Not wanting to waste the leeks I thought I could transfer them into the new onion overflow bed. It would be a good idea to get that ready as it will be soon time to plant it out with red onions and shallots, and elephant garlic.
So, I pulled out the old stakes that were the only thing remaining from my attempts to grow zucchini vertically. Then I realised that before I replanted the leeks, I really should enrich the soil to replace what the zucchini used up. Onions are in the bed for such a long time they really need a good start. As I was trying to do the easy things first so I could make great progress these two apparently easy to sort beds came to a stop. I could have sifted more homemade compost, but that would mean dragging out Wilbur the Wheelbarrow and loads of backwards and forwards with actual proper hard work. Or I could nip down to the garden centre, grab some good to go compost and save time and effort. I’d need to buy compost eventually as my stuff won’t go far, so it made sense and the beds were left weed free and temporarily abandoned.
Looking for more easy options to give great visual impact to show Hubby the Un-Gardener ‘look what I did today’ and to make me feel less overwhelmed I moved on to where the sweetcorn was but has long since been composted. The soil was lovely and soft, and the few weeds present slipped out easily. As the corn is such a huge crop that draws so much goodness from the soil to sustain the tall plants, the bed is a perfect candidate for a cover crop. As the peas will be the next crop in the spring bringing their own nitrogen source, mustard was a good idea and I got to use my fun hand spreader.
While I was thinking about peas, I grabbed another seed packet from the corner of my desk and sowed a new row of peas. The existing row should begin flowering any day now.
Feeling a little weary, but not ready to stop I pushed on and cleared the old squash bed, gathering up the last remaining butternuts before popping in a lupin cover crop to ready the soil for the sweetcorn next spring.
Just as I was about to call it a day, I heard some crashing and bashing in my glass gem corn. Some vile creature had the audacity to nosh down on my corn A) before it was even ready and B) while I was working in the garden just metres away. In a rage of ‘if I can’t have it then no one can!’ I single handedly – without tools ripped out the whole corn patch salvaging what I could, which wasn’t much.
Then I harvested a broccoli and came inside for dinner. It was such a lovely productive day, and I can’t wait to do it all over again – but the weather has turned nasty again.
Come again soon – a nice day is just around the corner.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
NB: Sorry this one is a bit long – I haven’t gardened properly in ages so got a little bit over excited.