Our small town garden is busily trying to spiral out of control. That’s spring where I live!
Fortunately, I love to watch stuff grow. But keeping up with the weeds (that is, finding a use for most of them in our limited space) is a bit of a challenge. In
, a book about permaculture, is a chapter called ‘Pop’ goes the garden. I suppose it’s wonderful if that happens to a patch of neglected or poor soil. Around these parts, however, it’s a yearly feat which usually means it’s time to put your wellies on.
The strawberries are flowering like mad – but they’re hiding their bounty under big leaves thrust upward to catch more of the sun’s rays. I’m really hoping that it either won’t rain too much – soaking their roots – or the shrubs and tree nearby will lap it up as quickly as it falls.
Being in the garden in the evening means I don’t get around to blogging very often. So I’m writing this post while commuting by train. Perhaps I should try blogging while I’m in the garden?
One thing about evening gardening: as the light fades, faint noises can be heard between the shrubs and leaf litter. It’s snails and slugs coming out for dinner, or possibly breakfast. It’s quite possible we have ‘a lack of (slug-eating) ducks’ but last time they visited I shooed them off because I don’t need that particular kind of action in my rather small backyard…
Update: all weathers including rain and storm this week. Need to keep an eye on the plum tree because its branches were flopping all over the place. Prune those, or risk losing plums next year by branches getting ripped off.
On the plus side… well, let’s say next time I’ll explain why I’m up to my eyeballs in pea plantlets 🙂
In my previous post I spoke of my early spring checklist for the garden. So, I went out and checked: Continue reading
The promise of spring is definitely in the air. In fact, the weather forecasts predict up to 20 degrees Celsius this Sunday. Our baby narcissus is flowering in a modest clump in our front garden. The buttercups are in for a great year, if the amount of leaves covering the soil are anything to go by. I’m definitely going to have to take a look around, to see what needs doing out there and in the back garden.
A few drawbacks?
Note: when I say garden, these two bits of land might add up to a small garden. With a car taking up nearly a quarter of the available space. And another quarter I don’t want to plant anything edible in because of the car. And other people’s cars driving past.
Then we want something like a sitting area. After a couple of years of baking in the afternoon sun, we decided to soften the local microclimate by putting in a tree or two. I’m waiting for them to start growing. So far, they’re looking happy – but not quite budding yet. Night temperatures do drop to nearly freezing point, so I’m happy that they’re in no hurry.
I planted some herbs like basil in a sunny spot almost in the hedge. These were annuals, which is just as well, because last summer I learned from our neighbors that they had sprayed the hedge (beech – it’s a monoculture in most new or renewed parts. A feast for specialized insects). If any of our hedge plants give up this year, I’ll put in an entirely different plant. Maybe something edible.
About two square metres of garden are filled with strawberry, blueberry (I added oak leaves for acidity) and herbs. The place is crammed and looked great even in winter. If you don’t mind the leaves. And I don’t. Most of them are gone by now, because we had a typical winter – if a sea climate winter is the kind you like. A sprinkling of snow in half the country, excluding where we live. Not enough ice to go ice skating (if any!), not this year. Rain. The kind of winter you end up calling “but really it wasn’t a winter at all. Not a proper winter.” Except it’s the kind we had a lot, until it started snowing a couple of years ago – in December! This year, people acted as though they’d been cheated out of a white Christmas they were entitled to. It’s quite possible that goldfish have better memories than humans.
So my early spring checklist looks like this:
- Watch Gardeners’ World (coming up…)
- Check if the stinging nettle is still in its corner by the water.
- Check if there are cat droppings among the plants; if so, cut a few leaves from the thistle in the other corner. Cut them into pieces of about 10 centimetres and spread them around.
- Empty the bucket of sand and goo that’s been standing around for no purpose at all.
- Find out if the sand box is full of water again, and consider getting rid of it. It would help if it’s broken. I can explain broken to a 4-year-old.
- Find out if old peas will still grow into plants. If not: go get new ones. There’s nothing like fresh peas. I had no problems explaining them to a 3-year-old last summer 🙂
I was halfway down this week’s bowl of energy food when I remembered to take a photo of it – so here it is, just to show you what I was on about in my earlier post.
Actually, this time I added milk to spare my teeth the ordeal of munching down a bowl of crispy oats with acid from orange juice. Feel free to have a glass of your favorite vitamin C drink instead.
As you can see, I had white mulberries. From what I’ve read, the black/red mulberries taste best – I’ll have to try those.
Just in case you love that variety of mulberry, I did happen to read you shouldn’t plant a mulberry tree near your driveway unless you don’t mind the stains. So you have been warned 🙂
I don’t have the kind of garden where I can stow away a mulberry tree in a corner somewhere (no corners to speak of). Mulberries are slow growers, but they can grow up to 9 metres (27 or so feet). They do have wonderful big leaves from what I saw. It’s definitely worth keeping in mind while I look for a bigger garden 😉
Read more about mulberries while I await the official arrival of spring – and the return of our esteemed Italian icecream masters.