Wednesday 28 April 2010

A Quick Catch Up

Desperate though we all are to meet Garden Bump, there have been no signs of imminent arrival yet, so the past week of sunshine has been spent in the garden getting as much done as we can before things get really hectic. We have been sowing seeds in pots to germinate in the greenhouse, weeding the raised beds, sowing seeds directly outdoors, mowing the lawn and chasing away the wood pigeons and blackbirds. And most satisfying of all we have been munching through more and more varieties of lettuce, with Garden Girl finally joining in and eating them at the table with words of praise for their flavour.

I fear if I tell you that everything in the greenhouse has germinated well and is looking healthy, with no signs of pests I will step outdoors in 10 minutes to see that slugs have been having an overnight feast in our garden so I will not tell you that. But if you are wondering how well things are doing you might now take a guess!

Garden Girl and Garden Boy have both been enjoying the opportunity to be outdoors whenever they want and have been joining in the gardening with eagerness, although now that Garden Girl has grown a few inches and can now reach the pedals on her bike the desire to ride around the patio in circles often overrides her helpfulness in the garden - usually when we are weeding! Garden Boy meanwhile seems to have totally lost last years interest in playing with compost and no amount of persuading will get him to even fill a plant pot. As soon as the seed packets come out however, Garden Boy is right next to me asking for more and more seeds. If he spots me sowing a seed without him he runs over, shouting at me to stop, telling me the seeds are his. Luckily he is taking his role as Chief Seed Sower very seriously and he places each seed very carefully in the pots with a slow precision and much thought.

My fingers are now firmly crossed for continued sunny weather when Garden Bump arrives so our Little Garden Helpers can carry on working hard in the garden for us!


Monday 19 April 2010


Garden Girl has never been a fan of lettuce. When it is offered and we suggest she at least try it, we are always met with the comment that 'It's just a leaf!' and 'The stalk is too hard'. Last year not a single one of our lettuce seeds germinated, so we were unable to persuade her to try some she had grown herself. This year however, to make up for last years lack of success, I might well have got carried away and have already sown five different varieties with even more seed packets sitting in our seed box waiting to be sown.

All five of the varieties we have sown so far have germinated and the two we were growing in pots in the greenhouse were looking luscious and ready to eat as baby leaf today, so when Garden Girl asked me if anything was ready to eat yet I pointed to the lettuce and said, 'Try that'. And to my surprise she stood inside the greenhouse, happily picking and munching on baby lettuce leaves until I feared there would be none left for the rest of us. Garden Boy soon joined in, never wanting to miss out on something Garden Girl descibes as 'yummy' and 'delicious'.

Pleased with Garden Girl's new found love of lettuce we cut and washed some for dinner and started a second sowing, at Garden Girl's request. So why is that when we sat down to dinner and she was offered the salad bowl all she wanted were the tomatoes because the lettuce was 'just leaves' and the 'stalks aren't nice'?!
I think perhaps we will have to start eating dinner in the greenhouse straight from the plant pots.

Friday 16 April 2010


With just four weeks to go until Garden Bump's due date I have hit nesting overdrive. I know in the back of my mind that it doesn't really make any difference at all but hormones have taken over and my desire to clean and tidy everything has been determining our activities this week. We now have a very clean house. It hasn't been this clean since I was pregnant with Garden Boy. But the garden has been suffering so other than cleaning the car (I just couldn't stop myself adding it to the list of jobs for the weekend) we will be working hard in the garden this weekend and hopefully getting on top of the weeds and sowing some more vegetables. And today I am putting away the buckets of water and hoover and we will endeavour to at least repot all the seedlings which are doing so well in the greenhouse.

Garden Girl is under instruction to tell me off if I try to do any cleaning at all. Wish her luck!

Friday 9 April 2010

From Gardener to Archaeologist

It seems that we have been trying to sow our carrot, spring onion and leek seeds for weeks. Deterred by weeds, wet weather and a week away it seemed that we might never get around to sowing these crops. But today we finally filled the rear raised beds with the tiny seeds that will hopefully grow into crunchy carrots and tasty leeks and onions. Garden Girl and Garden Boy spent the morning alternately helping me sow these seeds and assisting Garden Dad with the weeding in the raised bed where they later planted peas.

After a lunch eaten in the 'garden' of our Little Garden Helpers wendy house Garden Girl and Garden Boy decided to do more digging in the soil, but this time in the role of archaeologists rather than gardeners. I buried some broken pots and plastic jewels, shiny buttons and pieces of mosaic tiling for them to find and they were thrilled to be allowed to use my 'real archaeologists' trowel. Using small food bags as finds bags they gathered a collection of artefacts which they then washed and cleaned ready to display in their wendy house museum. Using small plastic propogators as their glass display cases they laid out their museum objects with care, then distributed museum leaflets to Garden Dad and myself so we would be encouraged to visit. Small though the museum was, the displays were well thought out and the staff knowledgable. I was informed that they will be changing their displays regularly as the museum staff are both eager to carry out further excavations in our garden so I am looking forward to a return visit soon.

When the museum closed for the day, our Little Garden Helpers returned to help Garden Dad grapple with the netting for the pea supports and to carefully place peas in the ground. I hope that by planting these much earlier this year we will have a far better harvest than we did last year. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Rolling On

We have returned from an enjoyable Easter in the North West. Our Little Garden Helpers put away their trowels for the week and indulged in museum visits, seaside battles against the wind, playground antics and egg rolling. There is a great tradition in Preston where, on Easter Monday, hundreds of children take their beautifully painted eggs along to the park, roll them from the top of a slope and run after them, giggling. When the painted eggs are finally smashed to pieces, in an eggy mess, everyone sits on the grass, or on benches, to break into their chocolate eggs and over-indulge in sweet things. Easter Monday egg rolling is a tradition I loved as a child and I am thrilled that Garden Girl and Garden Boy seem to enjoy it as much I did.

While we were away the weather was wet and cold, so it is unlikely we would have progressed much further with the garden had we been at home over Easter, but the rain did help all the seeds we sowed before we left to germinate and there are signs of healthy growth in the raised beds. Our friends also looked after our greenhouse and indoor seedlings with a lot of care, as almost all the pots were sitting proud with green shoots on our return. With some sunshine on Tuesday we managed to move some soil around the garden and pull up a few weeds, but tired from a late night on Monday we took it fairly easy.

Today our Little Garden Helpers were attending a birthday party, but while we were out Garden Dad put together another shelf for our greenhouse staging, so we are now ready to sow more seeds. With the promise of dry weather for the rest of the week our aim is to write a plan of action for the weeks ahead tonight and get stuck into the garden with more purpose tomorrow. Garden Dad has some time off work and we want to make the most of it and get as prepared as we can in the garden before a third Garden Helper arrives.