Six more plants were rescued from the garden centre plant sale room today, when Middle Mudlet and I went to get some more compost. I get a little frustrated with the garden centre because most of the plants in the sale room only require a little TLC and in particular, water! When you pick up a large pot with a very large plant in it and it’s light as a feather, you know that dehydration is a major factor in the droopy look of the plant. So today a red geranium, a variegated geranium, two osteospermum and two lithodora plants came home with us, along with two strikingly beautiful Lewisia from the main plant area.
Of course the main purpose for the trip out to the garden centre was to get some more all purpose compost because Middle Mudlet and I have a lot of seedlings which need to be potted on over the next few days but I decided to plant the rescued plants up first and these went into two tubs which Mud had planted up with flowers last year and had placed on top of the two tyre piles which are currently stored on the lawn. I was delighted to find that although most of the plants that had been in the tubs last year had actually withered away to nothing, in the centre of each tub the dwarf dahlias which I had grown from seed last year, were growing again, from a goodly number of slender tubers. I was frankly amazed, as these tubs have been exposed to the elements all winter and as everything I read about dahlias told me to protect them through the harsh weather, I wasn’t expecting them to have survived.
I replaced the old compost with fresh, carefully replanted the dahlia tuber clusters in the centre of each tub and then placed one each of the geraniums, osteospermum and lithodora plants around the sides, with 1 of last years poached egg plants at the front of each tub.
Meanwhile, over in the vegetable garden Middle Mudlet had been busily filling another potato bag ready for planting her second lot of Pentland Javelin potatoes and by the time I had finished planting the rescued plants, she had nearly finished that task. My next job was to start planting out the second sowings of beans and mangetout, as well as the courgettes and sunflowers. There were lots of plants waiting to be potted on but I needed to make room for them first.
The first sets of runners and climbing beans are already flowering. It’s a bit of a balancing act, trying to grow enough plants to ensure a steady supply of fresh beans without generating a glut because, in my experience, beans don’t freeze well at all. We have four runner bean plants from the first sowing, across the main beds (plus one in Middle Mudlets’ bed) and then five climbing beans with an additional two in Middle Mudlets’ bed. To be fair we’ve never grown this variety of climbing bean before and so I’m not entirely sure just how prolific (or not) this bean is. Today, another five runner beans and six climbing beans joined the others in the garden – that should be enough.
Another eight mangetout plants joined the existing wigwam of eight which Little Mudlet and I had planted up a couple of weeks ago. It would appear that the strips of curling gift ribbon with which we had adorned the structure, have done their job and dissuaded the sparrows and pigeons from feasting on our delicate pea plants, as there is no sign of damage on the tender new shoots. Little Mudlet is examining the plants daily to see if there is any sign of flowers yet – she is impatient for mangetout pods.
Five courgette seedlings are now in the raised beds. Five may prove too much and we may find ourselves with a glut but as the residents of Mudville are partial to deep-fried, battered courgette sticks and grated courgette is a great addition to a salad, I’m not unduly worried. Courgettes haven’t done very well for me in recent years, so, actually, thinking about it five may not be enough. My last job for today was to plant the three cucumbers into the remaining growbag, in the little greenhouse. I used the planting rings for these which should help with the watering and feeding of the plants as they grow, ensuring that the water and food are delivered to the roots in a speedy and efficient manner.
As Middle Mudlet and I toiled in the garden, Little Mudlet was quite literally pottering away with her little potters wheel. She ended up producing quite a decent little pot of which she is justifiably proud. The potters wheel was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Both girls got one each and they were Muds’ idea, an idea he had occasion to rue when the first time they used them, thankfully on another sunny day in the garden, the full magnitude of the potential for mess hit home in spectacular fashion.
Over the next few days, I’ll be planting out the last of the Pentland Javelin and the King Edward potatoes and then there is all the potting on that needs to be done: 40 or so mixed chilli plants, 15 mixed sweet pepper plants and a load of salad seedlings. There is also the small matter of another dozen tomato plants which need potting on … Middle Mudlet and I are going to be busy.