Behind the times but moving fast… well faster than last month

A few weeks back my mate Jess asked me to look after her seedlings. In hindsight I’m wondering if she ever regretted that decision.
Are you sure that’s a good idea?! replied Chris when she asked him if I would mind a bit of green babysitting. This isn’t Chris being unkind you realise, just reflective of the fact that, barr 2013, for the past 5 years I have single-handedly overseen the slow death and destruction of a hoard sweatpeas. The only reason 2013 was such a roaring success was because I didn’t bother to plant or sow any.

Jess pointed out that her wee progeny would surely do better getting sporadic watering at our flat rather than being abandoned for two weeks with no-one to even ignore them at her flat.

I wasn’t sure. Not only was she ignoring my total absence of green fingers, she also wasn’t appreciating the impact of a hyperactive kitten, basement flat levels of light and worse still my crippling jealousy that she had actually got her shit together and planted something in a timely manner. To say I was daunted was an understatement.

When the precious cargo arrived my unease only increased. Not only had Jess planted an array of seeds from lobelia to tomatoes that were already sprouting brave wee green shoots (just in time for me and the cats to snuff out those little lives I couldn’t help thinking) she had even made sensible and ridiculously cute wee flags to identify each pot of stubby greenery.

After half an hour later the green shoots were still looking pretty alive and my initial fear was subsiding. Perhaps I had more skills than Chris or I appreciated. 30 whole minutes of uninterrupted seedling growing, nay, seedling thriving.  I was surely a pro, in fact I could probably take Alan Titchmarsh’s crown.

It was just as I was contemplating the name for my primetime bbc gardening  show that Herring, our youngest furry addition to the household leapt onto my lap with a ridiculously cute wee flag in his mouth.

Dreams of pairing up with my idol Bob Flowerdew on gardeners question time shattered as I chased the seedling nemises (disguised as an improbably cute kitten) round the flat and wrested the flag from his fearsome jaws. Well to be fair he pretty much dropped it in my lap and leapt off to gather another one. In fairness I was pretty impressed at how well he picked up his prize- it was almost as if he was unhindered by cripling fear about damaging the precious seedlings sheltering beneath their little flag.

I don’t think the damage was as bad as it could have been but I’m not sure that I could still claim the seedlings were exactly thriving under my expert care. Two weeks later, having locked the cats out of the spare bedroom and attempted to remember to water them with mixed success, I think this is still an accurate review of my skills.

The seedlings were returned looking slightly the worse for wear but mostly alive and I relaxed.

That was several weeks ago and I had all but accepted that I was never going to grow anything from seed this year (except the buba in my belly of course) I decided that the stress just didn’t agree with me or the cats
The arrival of the raised bed coupled with a bag of compost found on the street weakened my resolve.

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And a sunny bank holiday on which I felt too fat and tired to move off a rug on the garden led to me finally get my gardening ass in gear

I made some wee pots from some old newspapers

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A few years ago my big sis bought me an amazing kind off pot making thigummie

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But garden betty has a great tutorial on doing this with just an old can or jam jar. These are a lot more sturdy than they look once filled with compost and are both free and a great reuse of discarded free papers found on the tube. Even better you can plant the seedling without worrying about disturbing its teeny roots – either peel off the paper and compost or plant the whole pot and Let it rot away. Super simple!

I had a load of seeds hanging about the house. Some bought in a fit of enthusiasm back in March, others found in a charity shop (in date but lets face it probably only just) and even packs left from previous years (chances of germination slim but better than waiting another year and surely better than throwing away.

A few varieties such as the winter squash aren’t so late and so might actually produce something but others are probably a waste of time. Either way I’m giving it a go. If only to let the cat know he hasn’t beaten me… yet

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So far I have seen no green shoots. This basically means Herring and I are in the clear since there is still nothing for us to kill… yet

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