Gardens of Future Past

 photo 2016-03-22-937_e_zps6coxkl6p.jpgA fence is not a challenge, unless you’re a dog.

Poor Jack is building fences as there’s too much that could make the two lunkheads ill in there so I’m setting it up as best I can. The string is for now, but I’ll need plastic mesh, wire would be better but I’m not made of money. It’s just there to stop them getting in, I used broom-handles and screwed in hooks. Necessity being the mother of get out of there! I mean, the Labrador is twelve and she should know better, she has trouble walking some days and yet she can barrel through any opening, legs flailing and I’d swear a look of smug satisfaction on her face when she makes it through. The mastiff ate my wild raspberry bush and a fair quantity of soil. So, yeah, mesh, string and whatever  it takes. That lab is my baby and I want them both safe. Bah! Forget it, I’m just moaning, anyway back to today’s gardening post. I promised this one and I really have no new recipes to share. I’ve mostly been stocking up on my usual bits and bobs with no real variation. You can’t beat the classics, I guess. I’ll get looking up more recipes soon, though there is a new Buckwheat Cookie option. Snickerdoodles or sugar and cinnamon as I think of it. I’m Irish, I only know snickers the bar. Go forth and roll your cookies in sugary mixtures.

 photo 2016-03-22-923_e_zpsxe41lkbc.jpgOne lost, three planted.

I should say that this is all pretty anecdotal rather than instructional, I’m only in my second year and I’ve still got so much to learn, so I’m not going to even try to teach anyone else, but some of this may give you your own ideas. Like I said above I lost one raspberry plant, but these were going cheap. The idea is to grow these for a year and then you’ll get a harvest in the  year after. There’s a lot of work in most things, a lot of it unexpected. I spent the tail-end of my gardening last year spraying a milk and water mixture on squash leaves to help with mould. I never knew what squashes entailed and everything was in the moment rather than pre-planned. Like the fence you have to adapt as you go, though don’t get me wrong, there can be plenty of wonderful surprises along the way too.

 photo 2016-03-22-931_e_zpsjynvyjo2.jpgMy purple broccoli will need to be separated, but I thought I’d plant a few seeds to be safe.

 photo 2016-03-22-933_e_zps0w2xd265.jpgPurple basil for purple pesto. At least that’s the idea.

Like I say you’ll need to learn a lot, different varieties will need different care from one another and in some cases will be entirely different, I learned that from my painted sage debacle. Made a nice plant at least. I have fragoo growing that may need its flowers pinched or may be better left alone, but I had to wait for the second year to even have a chance for strawberries. I’ll probably pinch them off when they’re small to promote leafy growth, but the bigger ones can flower and I’ll hope for fruit. I would say grow a bit of everything, trying it out is the best way to learn. You’ll have to decide how much of each and at the year’s end you’ll have a better idea for next year. That seems to be the way with gardens, there’s always a next year and it’ll always be better.

 photo 2016-03-22-918_e_zpscinhv47o.jpgTwo squash have started. One is an unknown “Small Pumpkin” That’ll be interesting to say the least.

 photo 2016-03-22-914_e_zpsojh9kdor.jpgI’ll move whole pots of herbs to a large pot when the roots have really established themselves.

What’s funny is how one day you’ll have much too much to do and it can be stressful and then the next you’ll have nothing to do but potter about wishing you had something to do. It’s enjoyable and infuriating in alternating stages. You can watch a seedling struggle and then bounce back, while another can be healthy and large and it may just die. That’s why you’ll want to plant a few back-ups. I also suggest spraying the pots with water instead of just pouring it in. There’s less chance you’ll drown the germinated seedlings. I’ve got a good mix of herbs and flowers growing. I’ve also started a few fruiting bushes. I’m doing whatever feels worthwhile and hopefully it’ll all pay off in the long run.

 photo 2016-03-22-928_e_zpsazqz4bjm.jpgIt starts in darkness and explodes with verdant hues when the sunlight hits.

 photo 2016-03-22-932_e_zps62e6u1nd.jpgBasil from cuttings and the remaining little seedlings. Let’s hope it goes like last year.

One thing I have learned is that you can plant for months and months, it isn’t just an all or nothing situation. Though it can feel like that, you may want to just plant everything and get it all started, but the plants will have their own ideas about that. Patience is indeed a virtue, but make no mistakes sometimes you’ll have to act quick to make sure that plants will prosper, whether it be transplanting before it becomes root-bound, hardening off before it gets too unwieldy or just pruning away unnecessary parts. Then there are other considerations like weather and, in my case, dogs. You might have to re-think a lot of what you’re doing and adapt as you go. I like to keep everything stable, but temporary. If I need t I can move things about, break down things or just shuffle everything around.

 photo 2016-03-22-919_e_zpsqwaaszju.jpgFeed me!

As I stood there elbow deep in a strawberry barrel I came to wish I had though of this first before filling it in. This is a pipe with holes in it filled with clay and sand. This way I can feed the plants without having the water and feed mixture spill out of the holes and scald the plants. Thankfully I was able to dig in and put the pipe down a little over halfway. It works really well. Just if you do try this do put the tube in first. You could even do this on a smaller scale with an old shopping bag, just slit it and place the strawberry plants into the holes and either hang it or just place it on the ground. This should look beautiful come Summer. I think the fragoo do boom all year round, the others will have to grow a bit more.

 photo 2016-03-22-934_e_zpsje5h8iv2.jpgAnother darkness germinating seed. Giant Swiss pansies.

So that’s it for the gardening posts until I have something more interesting to report. These will be growing for a while, a fair mixture of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers. It’s going to be interesting to see how all this will pan out. I think once I get my fence sorted, the raised bed set up and, fingers-crossed, the glass house set up I should have a very fun and plentiful kitchen garden going. I hope you’ll pop back again and visit your old friend Jack’s little garden. There’ll be recipes in the coming posts, I’ll just have to find them or create them first. Good luck in all your endeavours, whether they be culinary, horticultural or anything else. I’ll be back again soon. Until next time.

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