Apr. 20th, 2009

Yard stuff

Apr. 20th, 2009 06:15 pm
blackberry444: (Default)
Yesterday we spent quite a lot of time in the yard.  John and Charles swept and tidied the yard and took all the rubbish to the tip while I started potting-on the herbs I'd bought and some stuff from last year which needed repotting.

Before we did that I spent some time sowing seeds in the propagator I'd bought at the garden centre and the mini-propagators I bought at B&Q.  In the end I wished I'd bought trays to go into the large propagator instead of those little peat "plugs" because the arthritis made it very difficult to manipulate the seeds and sow them in the tiny space at the top of the plugs.

So I sowed basil, physalis, mixed salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber,  and lettuces.  And I sowed sapphire lobelia, double marigolds (to act as companion plants to try to scare off pests), busy lizzies, and geraniums.  They're all sitting on the only windowsill in the house, which is the one in the dining room, so I now have to remember to look in there every day to see if they need watering or whatever.  Actually I lie;  we do have a windowsill in the kitchen, but it's always full of washing up stuff, dishwasher tablet tins, Milton and other stuff unsuitable to mix with growing plants.

This summer I plan to reorganise the shed and throw away a lot of stuff, so I think I shall get John to put a couple of shelves in there under the windows so that I can use them to bring on seeds as well.  When I had my plastic greenhouse I could use that, but I haven't replaced it since all the plastic blew out of the mesh in a mini-tornado type storm, about 18 months ago.  I will try to replace it before next spring. 

I wish I could afford to have a tiny porch/conservatory built onto the back wall, moving the back door to round the corner and walling up the present back door.  It would really help draught-proof the house and provide a place for plants and seeds.  We could keep the cat litter-box out there too, which would save litter forever being tracked round the kitchen.

This afternoon I finished potting on all the herbs.  I've covered the bare earth in the pots with pink grit to discourage the cats from digging in them and hoping it may discourage the slugs, although I bet it doesn't.  It actually looks rather good.  The grit is barely pink really, just pink enough to stop it being grey.

I am so frightfully slow nowadays that I only managed to repot five pots this afternoon.  Admittedly I have to carry them and lift them onto the table, remove all the dead stuff, and the top three inches of compost, then plant the herbs, fill up the holes with compost and cover the soil with the pink gravel, but even so, I'm pretty sure I would never have been so slow a couple of years ago.

The lovely two-year-old compost from the bottom of my composter is wonderful, dark, sweet-smelling and rich.  There were even worms in it, which I returned to the composter.  I wonder where they came from?  The nearest earth to my yard is a sun-baked bit of heavily trodden earth under the willow tree on the other side of the back lane, but I suppose the land adjoining might be a good home for worms.  They've recently spent yet another fortune tarting up that small piece of land, putting in another bed for shrubs, and sticking in large rocks.  If they would only put a bench there, it would be really inviting.  They've defiled the whole thing, though by erecting two prominent notices saying in large red letters "Playing golf prohibited".  I hadn't noticed anyone playing golf there, although it's true that a golf-ball shattered the loo window three years ago and I found a rather nice new golf-ball in the yard today, which the cats adore because it's so bouncy!

Now that I've made some room in the composter I shall be glad to return to putting all my vegetable peelings in there rather than wasting them in the rubbish.

I'm so glad I've been able to make an earlier start this year.  Last year it was still freezing cold in May, even in the sunshine, which made it impossible for me to sit outside long enough to get anything done without ruining my knees for a couple of days.

This year, if it continues like this, I shall have all the pots and planters cleaned up, topped up with good compost and ready for the petunias and so forth that I buy in every year.  Who knows, I might even have time to sit out there and laze in the sun with a book!

I'm always amazed at how happy an afternoon spent playing with my pots and plants makes me.  I must be very easily pleased.  Or perhaps I'm just getting old!


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