I’ve been busy in the garden lately. Real busy. So much of my spare time (which is quite limited) is now being taken up with the garden. Of course, it’s a problem all of my own making yet, I have to admit, I enjoy it a lot (most of the time).
My last post was on April 10th (where has all that time gone?) and was called “Things are growing“. In that post there was a photo of young tomato and chilli seedlings in a plug tray. It was great to see them all start growing, but now I’m asking myself “why did I plant over 40 tomatoes?” and even more chillies? Have I bitten off more veggies than I can chew?
There’s one thing with nature, it doesn’t procrastinate. It just progresses. I can’t say I need a rest for a few days when there are seedlings that really need to be potted on. So the garden is actually setting my schedule and pushing me. That’s a good reason why I wish I hadn’t sown so many seeds (last year not so many of my seeds sprouted, so I thought the same would happen again, but it didn’t). Read more
With all the COVID-19 pandemic stuff going on these days, I am very, very grateful to have some land around my property where I can grow things. And, at the moment, things are growing! It’s great to see. For all the lockdown rules, social distancing and death statistics we hear about all day, it’s lovely to see that some parts of nature are just getting on with what they normally do.
As I said, I’m glad to have some land around my house and to see that things are growing. I feel sorry for people who are locked down in a house or a flat that isn’t large enough to do this comfortably. Thinking about this makes we wonder how we created a society where the result is that a lot of people can’t afford accommodation with enough room that everyone can be inside together comfortably. How did we create a society where so many people have accommodation that has no (or very little) land? How did we lose this connection? Read more
Last weekend, I did a few things in the garden and I’m posting a series of images below with comments to describe what’s going on. You’ll see why stones, woodchips and seeds are the main things on my mind. Here in the UK, the grass is just starting to grow again after winter, and things are starting to move in the garden. My aim is to build a natural, diverse garden and I’m part way through this multi-year project. I’m not an experienced gardener, I’m learning little bits from friends and the web, and then just using instinct. In fact, it’s using instinct that’s the most fun. It doesn’t always work out, but it’s fun.
Also in the UK at the moment, as in the rest of the world, it’s coronavirus disruption time. We’re trying to stay at home almost exclusively, so gardening is a good pastime and a good form of exercise, but I’m a bit worried to see so many people disregarding the instructions of the government. That’s sad.
Ok, let’s see what happened last weekend. (click on any of the images to see them full-size) Read more
Recently, I’ve read a good book called “In Your Face”. Most of the books I’ve been reading lately are based on spirituality, pottery or gardening, but this book documents the amazing encounter of a brave woman with the spectre of cancer. The story is raw, real and authentic while also being humorous, enjoyable and entertaining. I didn’t want to put it down.
Since moving to the UK, I’ve become accustomed to stinging nettles. They grow very vigorously, as a weed, and have runner roots just under the surface which spread out everywhere and result in new nettles. They’re hard to get rid of and their leaves really do create an unpleasant sting.
One thing I’ve found is that they love ground that has been dug up. In general, if grass is well in control, stinging nettles don’t have a chance. Once the ground is disturbed, stinging nettles can grow quite tall very quickly and dominate the grass, but if the grass is already there, stinging nettles can’t compete.
My Stinging Nettle Problem
When we had our pottery studio built including new steps down to the studio, there was a lot of ground disturbed and then relocated. This was just perfect for the stinging nettles and they took over. Since I hadn’t experienced them before, I wasn’t sure what to do. I tried pulling them out by hand, using a garden fork and some good leather gloves, and I found they were easy to remove because the roots are generally shallow. They don’t like being pulled out and it takes them quite a while for them to start returning, but they do return and, in summer, they grow very vigorously. At one point I was confronted with stinging nettles between 4 and 5 feet tall. Read more