Sunday, 9 August 2009

Razmabaz goes Green

And he's hoping that there will happen to be more red!

When we moved to this lovely house we inherited a green house. Never had one of these before and, to be honest, had no great interest in gardening. That may have been due, in part, to all previous gardening projects taking "Capability Brown" sized operations. Quite a daunting task to say the least!

Well, that was before a particular lady came on the scene who seems to be able to inspire and encourage without you being fully aware of what's going on. (Just for the record, how many of you are now knitting, spinning, batting [there has to be a proper term for this], dyeing, sewing, crocheting or even weaving when you didn't think you ever would?) This is how I found myself buying seeds and a bag of compost.

That was back in late March (I now know I should've started sooner). Armed with all the paraphenalia of an ardent horticulturalist I proceeded to the inner sanctum of the mighty greenhouse. Actually, it's only 8' x 6' but it seems huge when you don't know what you're doing! I placed out all my seed trays and set about planting the tiniest of seeds (excluding beans - they're so big it seems like cheating!). How much is left to chance and nature is amazing. It never ceases to amaze me how it all happens. (Eternal thanks to Suttons Seeds ;-) )

Things eventually happened, and all at different rates. Some shot up in no time, others decided to bury themselves in the general fug of laziness that seems to be known as "germination". Some never made it all.... investigation is called for here. Although, if the little blighters didn't want to show their faces then that's fine by me! We didn't want any Busy Lizzies anyway. I've since found they are notoriously difficult to cultivate from seed.

Reality check
I was driving to work about 3 weeks later and watched Spring 'take hold' of the countryside. All this germination with no human intervention - I wasn't so clever after all!

So, successes? I can report tomatoes are rampant. Petunias (they really are the tiniest of seeds) are making a bid to take over the world. Coryopsis are very pretty. Tagetes have the smelliest leaves (nice pong) going. Beetroot take longer than Mr. Sutton says - but who cares. (Incidentally, did you know you can take the beetroot stem and leaves, cook to eat as spinach?) Chillis grow like mad once the flower is pollinated. Runner beans seem to be incredibly popular and go on producing fruit like there's no tomorrow. Radishes were ok but neither of us like them that much :-( Strawberries were delicious. Working up on how to take the runners and grow even more. Abutilon is a tricky plant that really doesn't like the direct sunlight.

Were there any failures? Yes - but not total. Marianne gave me some seeds and said "You can grow me some natural dyes." Coryopsis was the only one that worked but I think we'd need an acre of them to turn a fleece yellow. Safflower and indigo only just about made it but the safflowers got savaged by an errant dog! Don't ask. - I just hope it turned orange :-p

So, all in all, I have to report as resounding success....... all I need now is the stuff that is supposed to be red to change from that green colour which kids hate. There is an irony here that I'm not about to divulge!