25 Jul 2014

Note to Self // The Novice Gardener

Dear Self,

You know that thing you do where you get all excited about a thing to the exclusion of all other things? Yeah, that thing. That thing, right now, is gardening.

As someone who has never actually seriously gardened before it's been a bit of a learning curve, a bit more of an uphill slog than I was honestly expecting. Novice Gardener is an interesting place to be. I say that as someone who's only planted some lettuce and cucumber, so take it with a pinch of salt by all means. But the initial finding should be the same no matter what, so I thought it best to remind you, Self, for the next lot of planting.

I know you're a free spirit, you know you're a free spirit, but sowing in rows does actually have a use: identification of your seedlings. While it's incredibly gratifying to see little shoots of green appearing across the area you airily sprinkled with seeds, à la Alys Fowler, figuring out what's your lettuce and what's a weed is nigh on impossible. Little green shoots look the same, no matter what they turn in to (or until you learn better identification skills hopefully). Next time you get that free spirit urge to sprinkle, do it over an indoor pot and transplant in a no doubt haphazard manner.

On the plus side, the holey wheelbarrow was an inspired choice of planter as the slugs have yet to discover it. I'm a bit surprised in all honesty, Self, because they've managed to find the dog's food bowl inside the kitchen, but not a bloomin' great big wheelbarrow full of holes in the back garden. Perhaps the concrete out back is actually of some use after all.

Oh, and by the way Self, waterlogging results in dead plants. Sometimes you rescue them (why the parsley, why? You never use it!) and sometimes you don't (lettuce seedlings from the top picture, we salute you) but perhaps not waterlogging them in the first instance would be best? It seems prudent to learn when to stop watering, and to find a way to remind yourself to actually start watering in the first place.

Anyone else got any gardening tips for newbies?