Friday 15 May 2020

A thing of beauty ...

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. It is worth spending a few moments just looking. A perfection that truly touches the soul. I am increasingly convinced that God made us that way. Lockdown isolation has been a unique experience in my life - nine weeks for us now as we started a week early. As it began, I wondered what we might do for others and thus Garden Codger emerged from the veg patch and the greenhouse. Another thing we began to do was send out a photo of a flower each morning on WhatsApp. This goes to our church group plus a few interested readers. The rose on the left is a returned compliment - so Thank You, Guildford. It is profoundly lovely in its utter simplicity

Emergency apparition! What will the neighbours think?
Carry on growing
The nights have been cold this week - surprisingly so. We have had two frosts here in Codger's garden. I have hung onto some plants that should have gone to clients ('customers' sounds too commercial) knowing that they will get a better start next week when night temperatures are due to rise - according to the forecast, that is. I had to resort to emergency measures by torchlight. Accurate as forecasts have become, they can often fail you in terms of locale detail. If you would like to know more about this topic, night frosts and protection there's a good Charles Dowding video here

Now that temperatures are set to rise again, it would be good to get moving with those tomatoes. We have plenty of bush tomato plants available right now (Cerise) - and cordon varieties (Money Maker) to follow in a week or two. Just let me know what you need

Beechgrove Garden from BBC Scotland
Beechgrove Garden
Speaking of videos, I recently mentioned broadcast sources of advice and information, particularly BBC Radio 4's GQT (listen at 3:00pm today) and BBC tv Gardeners' World (tonight at 9:00pm). But there's one programme I failed to mention: Beechgrove Garden put out by BBC Scotland - until recently, only available to the rest of the UK via iPlayer. Apart from its inimitable presenter, now retired, Jim McColl, the attraction of the programme is its practicality. They test one method against another, try out different varieties and are generally down-to-earth.  In this regard, I prefer the programme to Gardeners' World (plus they also have Chris Beardshaw - always good value)

Literal side-by-side comparison of three brands
Our own experiment
Do you ever wonder what is in the bags of compost you buy (when you get get it!) - it has often puzzled me. I used to buy mine from a local garden centre (now closed). It was the cheapest around - four bags for £10, I seem to remember. But it was rubbish. So, I tried various makes and brands but wondered more and more: just what is in this stuff? They tell you about peat and peat-substitutes but actually tend not to say what the mix is made of. So, I have started an experiment comparing three brands/types of potting compost. The cheapest is the standard B&Q version, sold under their trade name Verve (bought pre-lockdown). Mid-range is a peat-based compost sold in bulk for keen growers / professionals (all I could get online during lockdown). The expensive alternative looks like Bulrush which I also bought online last year. I have long suspected that professional growers use this type of product - if you are interested do a search on Bulrush - a whole new world will open up. Watch this space to see how we get on - seeds were sown yesterday

Blessed is the one who ... is like a tree planted by streams
of water, which yields it fruit in season and
whose leaf does not wither
(Psalm 1)
And finally ...
Once more we thank those supporting our efforts to support BCM. You can see how things are going here. And thanks, too, to our shoppers. They have fed us now for nine weeks!

Do join us again next week 
- best wishes from the old Garden Codger

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