I was recently given Joy Larcom’s Vegetable gardening book which in all honesty filled me with the groan of the worthy. A book with no pictures?! Pages and pages of list after list. Bit like reading seed catalogue from some merchants, who clearly have no idea about marketing or visually stimulated impulse buying. However one rainy night I decided to look up Celeriac. Mine aren’t doing so well and although I have staved them off going to seed, mostly by lopping seedy flowers OFF at the first sign, I am not seeing any root swelling or even emerging. I have to wait until October I gather. Not to mention they are really far too close together not to compete madly for nutrients and water. That said they are keeping weeds down and competing fantastically with the Taraxacum and Chenopodium on that level.
This is my ultimate aim on the plot, now two plots, to cover the weedy ground with so much ‘good to eat‘ or ‘good to look at’ that the weeds can only compete for a short time before being out grown, out leafed and out flowered by the lovelies and the yummies. There is some way to go as I am not only on the tightest budget ever, i.e no budget at all, but apart from LOATHING digging I am also not the Queen of Reclamation nor DIY. I’d like to be, I have ideas that I could be but in all fairness I am just not. I still think of things as ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girl jobs’ which apart from sounding incredibly sexist (I’m really not and frequently attempt things not designed for women my age or build) is really more about my jobs (girl jobs) and things I am rubbish at or too impatient or lazy to do (boy jobs).
This tendency started to emerge with the decorating, years ago. My idea of wall prep is to smooth it down with sand paper, regardless of what’s on it and paint, or paper over what ever is there. Nevermind steaming off paper, stripping off paint or the dreaded wood chip, PAINT OVER THE CRACKS!. Of course If I am paying someone else to do it I am a complete stickler for doing it right, and do actually know how to do it all in the right order, I just don’t do it myself. I cannot be alone? Botchit and Scarper had to start somewhere?
So gardening is a bit like that too, gardening at home that is. Gardening for clients is by the book or the several books I have digested during and after studies. Occasionally though I go back to the rule book, mainly when WingIt and X’dfingers doesn’t work as a strategy. Hence the gift of Joy Larcom, I suspect I am not as under the radar as I hoped with the latter strategy.
Of course once I began reading I couldn’t stop, Courgette – why are mine refusing to fruit when they have leaves the size of a small gunnera?; Beetroot – why are they the size of footballs this year when previously they have struggled to make an inch across?; What can I start growing now for winter crops? and on it went. Several hours later I realised that the lists of information crop by crop were in fact perfect for my needs and after some back and forth deciphering of symbols and reading of introductions I’d got under the skin of the tome on veg growing.
I am the better for it though I suspect next year when it all goes crazy and the competition between digging and planting comes up against weeding and feeding the Iris collection happens as it does every year in April/May the Irisies will win again but at least I’ve marked enough in the calendar for sowing of vital crops, vital to me that is…..now where was that packet of Chicory seed.