Sunday, 30 May 2010

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Roll back the years with...

...a tomato plant. Of course.

What a great smell it is, pinching out the side shoots of those gro-bag tomato plants. It takes me back almost 30 years to my grandpa's greenhouse on the South side of Glasgow. The heady combined aromas of tomato plants, creosote and grass clippings make for an amazing olfactory memory. As a matter of fact, a cousin of mine visited a few years back and I made him sniff the inside of our shed to see if he'd agree that it smelled exactly like our Grandpa Michael's and prove to my other half that I'd not quite lost it. Thankfully he concurred. On the smell, not the losing it.

On the gardening theme, a neighbour gave us a couple of these yesterday:

Celeriac plants. Good stuff for mash with a nice fish dish. The celeriac itself of course, not simply the planty bit. I digress. He'd no instructions for what to do with them so I just bunged them in the greenhouse for want of any better suggestions. A quick flick through Grow Your Own Veg by the BBC's Carol Klein recommends getting them planted out around now with a view to harvesting in mid-autumn. Sounds good. Especially the labour-saving mention of only watering every 5-10 days.

Apparently it's "hugely versatile...and can be used in soups and salads...the French grate it into a Dijon mustard mayonnaise." What? All of them? Is it compulsory over there? Good grief...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

How does your garden grow?

I think, if you're a proper gardener, that there's always something needing to be done in the garden. Whether it's weeding the beds or mulching the borders, Gardener's World would have you believe that the world's not right until you've been out with the spade and the secateurs and to hang with any jobs from the real world.

There may well be a grain of truth in this. If, however, like me you're just messing about at it and trying your luck* then one can manage the incredible feat of pottering about and appearing simultaneously productive/constructive and yet shambolic and disorganised.

This, of course, may be no bad thing. Too much anal retention can't be good for either the garden or the digestion. Are regimented rows of seedlings and well drilled lines of saplings really doing much to advance the cause of human happiness? Laissez-faire and devil may care, that's me.

Real gardeners (yes, retired folk really) would no doubt be horrified at my planting regime - points to consider: do I have space, do I have any soil/compost? Answer = yes? Bung in the seeds regardless of instructions to the contrary. I prefer to think of it as a kind of "control method", checking whether those seed packet instructions really are accurate is a true service to the horticulturist I think.

No, no, don't all rush to thank me. It was nothing...

* many years ago, the Beechgrove Garden used to talk about, what I took to be a form of cultivation called "keanamata gardening" - it's only recently I've discovered this seemingly exotic form of horticulture to be for the "keen amateur". Oh well, another bubble burst.

Un jour tres beau dans le jardin

Heavens above. What have things come to when my first thought on a glorious day like this is 'excellent, I can get the washing out!' ?

Still, hard work over, time to fire up the Gene Hunt would never be heard saying.