From the pot to the pot in 5 minutes
Today I had the pleasure of harvesting the first of my carrots which were grown in pots. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare my garden properly for vegetables earlier in the year, but I did manage to get in a few rows of onions and potatoes, one row of cabbages and a few pots of carrots.
I inherited my garden with a small raised bed and I got very excited until I discovered that it was just a large lump of clay with a couple of old railway sleepers round the edge. Hence the spuds which are starting to break the soil up a little. My onions are now in and waiting to be plaited into a neat hanging thingy; they are so crisp and full of flavour they make me weep. Oh hang on…. But joking apart they really are lovely onions.
I planted my potatoes much too close together which made them difficult to earth up and they completely overshadowed my cabbages and I forgot about them until about two months ago. Consequently, the cabbages got a bit sluggy and the last but one has bolted, but the others were all nicely tight-headed and delicious.
As I mentioned earlier, the soil in my garden is very heavy clay and therefore completely unsuitable for carrots. If you attempt to plant carrots in clay, all you will get is clumps of fanged, knobbly monstrosities which are neither use nor ornament, unless they grown into amusingly genital shapes, but even this has limited entertainment when the family is crying out for Sunday lunch!
I didn’t have time to organise different areas of soil, or to improve all the soil in time for planting, so I did my old trick of planting in large plastic pots. I made a mix of half compost and half sharp sand and filled three giant pots with it. I then carefully and thinly sowed carrot seed as per the instructions on the packet and left them to it. I’ve just had my first crop and I can’t tell you how delicious they were and you can’t get any fresher than taking them out of the ground and into the pot five minutes later. Do try growing things in pots if you don’t have much garden – you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
Vis a vis the other things I planted, I had a grand total of ten tomatoes, the neighbour’s horse ate the pumpkin plant and the pepper just stared at me very hard as I walked past, but did nothing.
I have grander plans for the garden next year. As my landlord stole half my garden, there is no longer any need for the badly made and un-membraned gravel path that cuts across what remains of my lawn. I shall remove it, use the wooden planks to edge the front flower bed, move the pathetic box plants to in front of the fence, where hopefully they will eventually form a nice hedge. I will then be left with a decent, vaguely rectangular lawn which will be easier to mow.
I can then move the tatty sleeper edged bed, which is at the moment full of mint, and use the remaining sleeper to extend the vegetable patch. With hard work and a following wind I may even have room for the garden swing which I bought and promised to put up for the boys two years ago.
This is not as much work as it sounds and, to be honest, I far prefer diggin’, choppin’ and ‘ackin’ work to poncing about with plants. The Aged Parent can do that – it’ll keep her joints supple.