Due to the lack of garden centre availability during lock down and, ok fine, the fact that I am a terrible hoarder I have been forced this spring to go through my current seed stash rather than hit the shops for new growing ideas. The usual suspects started in a line up of herbs, squashes and tomatoes earlier in the Spring. Unfortunately not a single squash (probably courgettes but I can’t recall) made it more than a week past the planting out in mid May but the herbs are going strong and my tardy tomatoes are now in the veg patch and catching up from their slow start.
My inner scientist craved an experiment, some hint of the unexpected, some wild and exotic territory of unknown wonders! So obviously: celery.
Celery is one of several vegetables that geeky types like me will inform you can be regrown at home from the bits you would usually bin. Lettuce, cabbages, onions and carrots can also be brought back from the dead but celery is once of the quickest options and appealed to me most to try because let’s be honest, WTF does celery look like when it grows? There seemed only one way to find out. Ok, I could have googled it, but instead I set up my own Frankenstein-esque resurrection lab to create my fibrous and vitamin K rich zombie hoard! That is to say, I got a bunch of celery, a sharp knife and a coffee cup.
It really is that simple, buy a whole bunch of celery (not a heart) and trim off the entire base, leaving about an inch of the stalks intact. Place this into a cup or glass and fill with water or very damp soil about halfway up the depth of the stalks. Stick it somewhere sunny and within 48 hours you will see the little veins in the centre of the flesh of the stalks begin to protrude from the cut ends. Keep the water topped up and these little veins shalt rush forth into tough, dark green leaves within a fortnight. By then you will also see the base start to put out the beginnings of roots. Now is the time to transfer to the earth and then, er, come back next time and I will hopefully be able to tell you what’s next. I currently have two plants in a very deep, wide pot doing well in the sunny end of the garden. Watch this space.
That is pretty much it for the new plants. As for the established perennials, the rhubarb is mountainous as usual and has already given up a couple of crumbles and later this weekend probably some jam too. The gooseberries are looking very sad, possibly due to the recent lack of rain and the raspberries aren’t talking to me since they were relocated.
That’s actually not it, because working from a desk by the patio doors has given me some funny ideas. And not driving to the office every day has bolstered my landscaping fund so yes, yes, after four years I’ve stopped eyeballing those stupid conifers and had the buggers taken out. Finally. And it’s transformed our garden into this wonderful, bright space which is suddenly full of creatures other than the wood pigeons and Moby Dick The Phantom Crapper. We have an abundance of tits and blackbirds. We have a scattering of Rose Chafer beetles hanging out on the newly sunny beds of alliums- as you can see in the video clip below. We were woken up in the wee small hours the other week by a very noisy hedgehog and above all we now have space for a pond. Getting rid of some poorly planned trees has given us a nature explosion and it’s wonderful.
Reader, we are going wild. Or at least wild-ish. Because growing veg in a domestic garden is often hard work, only marginally successful and at best feeds us for a couple of dinners and some jam. But making a bit of space for nature in your garden is so easy that you can do it without even realising what you’ve done and it gives homes and dinners to hundreds of living things. British habitat is being destroyed daily so anything you can give it is a massive bonus and before I get too self congratulatory it is also really good for all those other pretty plants and veggies out there that need pollinating in your garden and the world beyond it. Wild spaces bring the bugs to transfer the pollen and thus allow fruit to grow. Wild spaces also bring birds, who eat slugs as well as fat balls and seeds, giving some rest to your lettuces and hostas. Borders and shaped bushes are all well and good but piles of wood and decomposing branches make a good home for beetles and beetles are awesome and it is possible to keep wild messy bits of the garden kinda pretty too.
So I’m keeping my pots of herbs, my rhubarb mountain and one patch for tomatoes because they are one my favourite foods but the rest is going native. From now on my Grow Your Own Posts will include some updates on the wild areas too and how you can do the same in your own garden. No doubt plenty of tips by this time next year on what not to do as well, it wouldn’t be me if it all went well first time!
Do you regrow from veg roots at home? Any tips? Let me know in the comments!