Today I have been thinking about timing in terms of planting seeds, in all the senses. It is exactly one year today since I left Spain after living there for a very long time. A lot of seeds have been planted since then, and on reflection the seeds were planted a long time ago…
But first back to my garden..
I planted the seeds out around my apple trees (see design for apple tree guild) on the 14/4/2012 and so far there is not much to report. I thought the overgrown nettles were shading the patch from light, so I removed them. There are a few things sprouting but not sure if they are weeds, existing plants/flowers – this is where a one year observation of your land would come in handy, as this is my first spring-summer here I don’t know what is already in the patch. I went ahead anyway and planted after only having been here since October 2011. My thinking was that the trees could do with some support and that the land below was bare. I could have been wrong, maybe all the plants below were just hiding until the last frosts passed. Or, some of the seedlings that I have planted are starting to sprout!! Again, time will tell. I realize that gardening is a test in patience (which is a lovely thing for me to be practicing)and that it is true that an apple tree guild can’t be ‘built’ in a day or even a few months, that nature will take it’s course and I may have jumped the gun and planted seeds where they were not wanted/needed or planted them too soon.. My very definite impatient side!! But with a little bit of observation over the last few weeks I definitely think the apple trees are not planted in the best place. They are shaded out by a very large sycamore tree (guild 2) which has just started to leaf in the last few weeks and on the other side (guild 1) there is a mini-forrest of all things not edible!! But in an ode to my ignorance I decided that for this year anyway it was best not to move the trees and to just do a design from the book and watch to see what happens.
My vegetable patch on the other hand was planted out on the 4/05/2012 and for the first few weeks after I planted it was frosty, windy and with torrential rains, after two weeks there were no signs of life from my poor seeds. I had nearly resigned myself to starting all over again and re-planting the whole lot, and then… we had some sunshine, a few days actually and so once more I went to take a look at my pride and joy on 20/05/2012, whilst calculating in my head when exactly would be the best time to re-plant, and I found seedlings!!! Lots of them, springing up all over the place. I couldn’t identify any of them, and for all I knew they were weeds, but I checked it out with some more knowledgeable gardeners via photos on internet and folk confirmed that it did indeed look like edible crops sprouting… I was sooooo happy, I am so happy. Another lesson in patience..just when I thought I had been defeated by nature (and what it says on the packets of seeds) I learned that the seedlings were smarter than me and biding their time.
Since the 20/05/2012 we have had almost non-stop sunshine, unheard of in Britain and the seedlings are lapping it all up, and so am I.
Whilst spending more time in the garden I have been observing all sorts that I hadn’t really taken in before, for instance, even when it is quite windy my garden is very well shaded, and when we have sun then it shines directly onto the decking in front of the summer house from 12 mid-day until the sun goes down. So a perfect spot for all my sun loving plants, which I have decided to grow in pots for this year (as they don’t fit into the veg-plot design and I am told they don’t grow in the ground around here, but I had planted seeds indoors way back in February, and they came on great, so I have some fine looking young plants: tomatoes, chilis, peppers, cucumber, tomatillos and trying my hand at some aubergine, even although everyone tells me it it wont grow in these parts of Scotland!!
So, back to timing… I felt so laid back and happy in my garden today that I decided to start off lots of other seedlings, some things that it is recommended you sow at intervals: lettuce, radish, peas, rocket, carrots, things you can plant repeatedly so that you spread your pickings out over a longer period and don’t have a glut all at once. I started them in seed boxes and left them out in the sun all day, this was good… But then I got adventurous and in reading a book called No-Work Gardening by Ruth Stout I learned all about sowing onion seeds and beetroot densely , so that you get baby produce and they are sweeter.. or something along those lines, don’t quote me, best to read the book. Now I know, from what it says on the packet that it is too late to plant onion seeds!!! Don’t ask me why, but that’s what the packet says. Next planting should not be done until after the 18th August so that you get onions early next year.. so what did I do? Planted onion seeds densely in little pots, which if they work (!?!?!) then I shall plant out…. I liked the ideas of small bunches of tiny sweet onions… and I like to experiment… Is it all about the timing when planting seeds??
And then I got to reflecting more on when the ‘seeds’ and idea of permaculture were planted in my head.. but that should be another post, as this one is getting long, and it’s thoughts I have in my head about me, and my journey, and not really about my garden, although everything is connected, in my opinion…