Like my house, my back yard is something of a mess. When I refer to myself as a ‘gardener’, I think it would be more appropriate for the word ‘wannabe’ to be put in as a disclaimer. Or else to describe myself as ‘someone who likes to think about gardening’.
In the old days I used to think nothing of spending all day in the garden each weekend and I’d get totally lost in the garden. I’d never know how long I’d been out there and I never cared either. It was my place to work through problems, daydream and escape.
Since then things have changed a bit.
OK a lot.
Juniordwarf is the most obvious change in may life, and since he arrived, my available time to garden single-mindedly has diminished by, oh let’s say 100 per cent.
Unlike our previous garden (or let’s be honest, block), which consisted of heavy clay soil, very little in the way of established plants and very little in the way of weeds, except for long grass in summer, our current yard is a convoluted mix of overgrown jungle, blackberries, comfrey, stickyweed and oxalis.
|Comfrey is apparently a good|
compost plant. Doesn't mean I
want it everywhere though.
|The comfrey section of the back yard|
|Right up the back. I'm scared to go here.|
|Although there are grapes there|
Oh yes, did I mention oxalis?
This evil little weed has infested my entire vege patch and is slowly spreading throughout the rest of the garden.One of my colleagues said he’d once heard Peter Cundall say that the best way to get rid of oxalis is to move house. It’s that insidious.
Well, moving isn’t an option in our current circumstances, so I have to figure out another way of dealing with it. At the moment it’s a living mulch . . . There are veges growing with it, so at the moment I’m just living with it. It hasn’t affected the zucchinis anyway.
As you will learn in a post-in-progress, I am one of those people who likes to have everything in place before I do anything. In terms of the garden, I’ve always thought that I’ll get a really good vege garden in once the yard is cleared up and looks beautiful. Then the stage will be set for the perfect vege patch. But until then I’ll just plant my normal spring plantings of zucchini, pumpkins, corn, potatoes and tomatoes and leave it for the rest of the year.
You know, and I know, that I’m never going to get the back yard cleared out to the degree I’d like to, in order to be comfortable about putting in the vege garden. I don’t have the time. I have a little boy to look after. I have scrapbook pages to complete. I have a job. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I read somewhere that you’re supposed to sleep for about eight of them.
So if I wait until the yard looks perfect, I’m never going to get this garden thing up and running.
With this in mind, yesterday I got out my Peter Cundall Year Round Gardening book (published in 1985, that I was lucky enough to find in a second hand bookshop in brilliant condition) looked at February and saw that this is a good time to plant broccoli. So juniordwarf and I went off to the garden shop yesterday and bought some broccoli seedlings.
(I’m gradually working up to planting my own seeds, give me time . . . the aim of this was just to get started by planting something, anything.)
Today we (that actually means I) cleared out one of the square planter things that I set up on the lawn a few months ago in an effort to increase our growing space and avoid the oxalis. We planted the broccoli seedlings, watered them in and left them to the mercy of the snails.
Aaaaah the snails . . .
My square planter things are some el cheapo plastic frames that have no support and, consequently, aren’t particularly stable, so I’ve surrounded them with bricks.
So while we were dutifully planting the seedlings, what should slither out of one of the holes but a snail.
Juniordwarf was fascinated. It’s the first time he’s ever seen a snail up close and he couldn’t take his eyes off it.
I was at once delighted at his interest – it’s the first time he’s taken any interest at all in any buggy-type thing – and horrified. I really don’t want snails eating my seedlings, but I couldn’t bring myself to dispatch it while he was so engrossed in it.
He kept pointing at it, touching it and exclaiming about it as it moved across the bricks, down into another hole and back out again.
So I let it slither back into one of the holes, and left it there.
Whether we have any seedlings left tomorrow morning remains to be seen.