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!


KSee said...

Hi Barry,
what a wonderful report. Just image what you have learned this year so that next year Marianne can knit you a farmers hat and put the wellies on!
Oh, I'd love to see an orange dog!

Robin C said...

Hello Barry,
I see that you now have the gardening bug too. Our little garden has done well this year. It's been a learning experience as well. The heat in Virginia in August is probably going to do everything in but the tomatoes so most of our summer work is about over. Your tomatoes look lovely. What is the name of the variety you planted? We get our seeds from an heirloom company and have had great success with most things. But we got started a bit later than we should have, now we know. Are you going to plant a winter crop? We have kale, collards, carrots, broccoli and more tomatoes that we are going to try. We are going to try the tomato in the greenhouse and see if it will produce. What do we have to lose?
have a great day and watch out, I do the same thing to Ray that Marianne does to you. Something else is going to pop up for you to do.

Robin in Virginia

Faerynuff said...

Well, I am envious! My tomatoes are okay but got neglected and show it. Starting to ripen now that we are having sunshine again though and it is amazing what a little tomato food can do.

My beans aren't so great either, the snails found the young plants far too tasty but we seem to have a small crop which may be ready next weekend.

My chillis. Er. Um...the caterpillars or something got them and stripped every single plant bare. So very cross about that. I was looking forward to making Chelly with homegrown chillis this year.

The plant which has done the best is a broad bean plant that Maddie planted in a plastic cup at school. It is so healthy and full of lovely pods fattening up ready to be munched.

Jez is currently driving back and forth from here to Ilfracombe collecting top soil from someone's front driveway. He has built us raised beds all round the back garden and through freecycle we are slowly filling them up!

I seem to have written an entire blog post!

See you very soon, Ali x

Linda said...

Gosh, great growing! I grew nothing apart from a few pots of tomatoes this year. I particulary love the fact that you attempted growing dye seeds for Marianne.

CG said...

I've had mixed results too. My courgettes were a total flop! here's to bigger and better for us both next year!

KSee said...

Thank you for the comment on my material. Too funny. I hope one day to open my new sewing machine and make something with it. I need Marianne's engery.