Wednesday, 1 March 2017

a question of priorities

I had to go into Colchester for a haircut.  My hairdresser exclaimed about how much my hair had grown in six weeks, and I wondered if it really grew that much faster than other people's.  If so I put it down to all the healthy exercise lugging piles of stuff around the garden.  When I got home I moved the bags of Strulch in the back garden from off the grass on to the paving outside the garage.  Each bag weighs 13.5 kilos according to the Strulch website, so the whole pallet's worth of fifty bags weighed 675 kilos, which equates to 1,485 pounds or 106 stone.  No wonder we ached a bit after moving them all out of the gateway yesterday.

Before changing into my gardening clothes I vacuumed the bedroom.  I didn't really feel like it, but there was rather a lot of grit in the carpet, most of which fell out of the hems of my gardening trousers where I rolled them up because I was too idle and impatient to cut off the six surplus inches of material and hem them properly.  Since it was mostly my dirt I thought I had better clean it up, though the vacuum cleaner and I do not have a good relationship.  It cut out and blinked its red light at me twice, demanding that I clear its filter.  I keep thinking I ought to dust the bedroom, but that really is waiting for a wet day.

In the afternoon I sowed seeds in the greenhouse.  The Strulch needs spreading, the prunings need shredding, but I thought I had better try and get the seeds out of their seed packets and into pots so that they could start growing while I was doing everything else.  I don't understand why I only bought two packets of tomato seed, one cherry variety and one long Italian type for cooking.  I have some 'Sungold' left from last year, an F1 variety with eye-wateringly expensive seeds, not to be wasted, and some 'Black Russian' that's getting a bit old, but what else was I planning to do? There is room for six grow bags in the greenhouse, and The Range does a better deal on them if you buy them in pairs, or was it sets of three?  Either way I am sure I meant to do six bags this year.  I should probably trial a second plum variety, to try and find one that does well here.

When I visit private gardens open to the public, not grand acres attached to an historic house but good everyday gardens open for the Yellow Book scheme or the Red Cross, I am surprised at how few of them have a greenhouse or show any signs of propagating activity.  Raising your own plants is such fun, it is surely an intrinsic part of gardening for the true enthusiast.  And if you have a lot of space to fill it is a significantly cheaper way of getting a lot of plants than buying them all from a garden cente or nursery.  And you would have surplus plants to sell to visitors in aid of your chosen charity.  Then at this time of year I remember how much time it takes, with the sowing, the pricking out, the lining up of pots and keeping them watered and weeded until you are ready to use them out in the garden.  I guess maintaining a garden to the standard where you would feel comfortable charging people to go round it is a whole art form in itself, and probably doesn't leave enough time over for much in the way of propagation.

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