Show me a happy, relaxed gardener in my part of England at the moment and I will show you a man with only paving and pot plants. Consistent extremes of blazing sun and driving rain have caused exponential growth explosion that would have been a challenge to control if I hadn’t been working the last 3 weekends. But I have, and as such my arable kingdom is a wet weedy mess.
Lower body injuries and almost hourly downpours have written off anything like proper gardening for today although I have just enjoyed a moist half hour ripping out a sadly tiny amount of my new nemesis: The Weeds. Jury is still out on if these are some kind of creeping wood sorrel or more bastard, bastard Geraniums*.
They. Are. Everywhere.
A rapid growing blanket of spindly looking dark leaves, not unlike a comic book clover, creeping forth under and over and around everything in their path until they have raped enough goodness from the soil to burst up with their insidious little flowers and choke the life out of almost everything else there. I have happily ripped out a confirmed adult population of wild geranium grin the flower beds and am slowly edging towards the sad conclusion that I might have to give up on the veg for this summer and let them run their course in strangling my edibles as they are comparatively easy to get out when they are established larger plants. As these tiny creeping weeds you can’t really get a hold on them and the rhizomes are too small to find in the soil and thus remove to ensure the extinction. Regardless of what they turn our to be in classification terms the treatment is the same: just pull them out. Forever because they will be back next year no matter how you think you have killed them.
I’m trying to remain upbeat, we have some really beautiful flowering flowers to cut and have in the house and a potentially sizeable fruit yield to come in the autumn. My fat blackbirds are getting fatter. Kevin the Depressed Wood Pigeon has either cheered up or moved on and the beer traps seem to be keeping the snails down if not out.
Moby Dick The Phantom Crapper was found ‘cross mine threshold a couple of weeks ago which lead to both outrage and amusement as I chased the cheeky sod out of my kitchen. With hindsite this might not have been the right move. A couple of cat owners have shared that their cat never poos in their own garden, and maybe if we make old Moby a bit more at home he might take his toilet breaks elsewhere. I’m not sure if I am ready to take this step in negotations yet, though fresh evidence of his presence this very morning emphasises the escalating requirement for a new plan.
And for the rest…………
Lettuce- salad bowl varieties red and green in ground and pot. Not doing so well due to aphid like eating, the bloody snails and mild trampling during Operation Fell as confirmed later on. The ones in the pot are still healthy though and I will be trying to sow some more over the weekend in the empty spots in the ground. If you’re going for lettuces, I would reccomend that you sew them as early in the year as you can get away with, when it’s still a bit cold and the slugs haven’t woken up as my recent seedlings aren’t getting the chance to become teenagers let alone grown ups but the ones that were established first are clinging on with what little dignity can be affored to a bunch of wibbly green leaves.
Cabbages– January King, planted in the ground. Also suffering from pest activity. More to be sown this weekend, if these don’t take I will try again after the summer as they will grow for most of the year. Weirdly the geranium/sorrel blanket seems to not get much hold in this quarter of the patch.
Carrots– Nantes 5 variety in ground and pots. Now fighting the geraniums as well as the cat and not showing very well for it. The potted ones are stong but not very big, larger tops in the ground but only 4 survive at today’s count.
Herbs– Another sad tale, this time of some nobhead who forgot to pierce the pot bases before planting out the herbs and thus allowing them to become waterlogged tubs of peaty yuk. It doesn’t seem to have bothered the rosemary that much but the oregano is very unhappy and shrivelled. The most outer stems are starting to recover 4 days after my error was corrected so hopefully this is a setback rather than a fatality.
Applemint and Spearmint still going great guns and I must find use for them, considering a drying experiment to make some tea.
Wild Thing Sage not edible but works well as a cut flower in the house.
Onions– Red Karmen in ground and pots from bulb. You really can’t kill an onion you know! They carry on in the worst invasion point, some with the green tops approaching 3ft high. The strongest ones are just developing flowers which suggests that harvest could be due in a few weeks.
Hazelnut Trees- Sulking following Operation Fell which saw them cut back most severely as they were trashing the fence and making it difficult to get to the beds which they were also destroying with shade. They are healthy though and will bounce back, hopefully in a controlled and symetrical fashion. We might have screwed the nut harvest for this year but have secured the lineage as I am now potting up all the saplings I’m finding around the garden to transplant to new homes. Homes of my neighbours. Neighbours who are far away. Our Hazlenut population is at it’s boom max.
Fig– massive, heavy and pitching worryingly to the ground as we try to constuct a suitable support for it.
Crab Apples- going ok, budding fruit is small and very hard but starting to change colour
Probably Plum Trees- Showing fruit which is definitely not apples. Possibly matching a tree at the Patriarchal Homestead which means they will stay green but mature well enough for jamming.
Chilli Plant– enjoying a new lease of life and putting out several new small but punchy peppers on the window sill.
Errol The Lemon Tree– Growing like a weed from all the light in our conservatory. Research shows he wont survive a winter in the actual garden so we won’t be planting him out. I am now accepting applications to house him for the winter months. Good wholesome families with temperature tight conservatories only please.
So that’s it for now, a disappointing time but with more green victories to come I hope. For the love of the everlasting PLEASE let me know if you have made a success of removing a geranium invasion.
*geraniums or gerenia?