Thursday 28 May 2020

Wash your hands!

For sanity's sake I only watch the news once a day. Perhaps unusually these days, I also avoid the 24/7 online drip-feed. Hearing of some government crisis involving a possible resignation I tuned in to the BBC News to hear what Boris had to say. Members of the public and representatives of the media were invited to ask the PM questions about his decision. I imagine that, like me, they were somewhat surprised to be told, "Wash Your Hands!" Perhaps I am politically naive but it did seem a odd thing to say in the particular circumstance 

However, I'm sure that it is a sound enough message - and - wait for it - it could be good for your garden. As a responsible lockdown citizen, Codger has joined the league of frequent hand washers. Every time I come in from the garden I wash my hands - rather thoroughly, in fact. I use a little antibacterial handwash and a lot of water - enough to fill the plastic bowl in our utility room. Can you see where we are going with this? Yes, to the garden! So, resignation or no resignation, here is my three-word mantra: Don't waste water! Put it on the garden

Use only tap water for plants in containers
Watering: a tip
I have just checked the forecast - dry again! So, here are a couple more points about watering. If you have a container that has completely dried out, you will probably find that that water runs straight through without doing much good. One answer is water only a little, wait for half-an-hour or so, and then water again. An alternative - or an additional approach - is to keep water in a large container that plants can be stood in

Kinking hose
This can be annoying. You are in a hurry and the hose kinks, stopping the flow. When you check, you find that it has kinked at a weak point so the problem is likely to reoccur. Did you know that it is possible to buy stronger hose - four-ply hose? However, it is much more expensive. Garden Codger had an idea: Replace only the lengths of hose that kink most easily. See this in the photograph here (the length that runs between the reel and the tap). You will notice that the more expensive hose is coloured blue. I have some spare if that would help anyone out. If you are local to me, just get in touch

More on Lockdown
You are bound to have you noticed the lack of aircraft overhead. It may seem strange, but I miss them. We used to have a regular four-engined Emirates (Airbus 380?) that coasts in on a Tuesday afternoon. Perhaps I should explain that we are under the London to Birmingham flightpath. In normal conditions (what were they?), the planes sail over us, turn right at IKEA and then follow the M6 back to the airport. Should this interest on Codger's part seem incongruous, note that both sides of his family were involved in the aircraft industry: De Havilland and Handley Page - but that's another story. We'll keep that for another time

Tayberry growing into the sunlight
Our property is exactly aligned to observe the traffic into Brum as it passes overhead before the IKEA right turn: we face precisely south-east. The gardening terms, this is known as the aspect. Over the years I have become more and more aware of the garden's aspect and how the seasons affect the amount of sun received by different parts of the garden. Nearly all food producing crops need lots of sunshine. Beans will tolerate some shade - in fact they hate baking conditions. I have found that soft fruit can also be grown in more shady conditions provided they are positioned so that they can grow into the light. That is the case with this tayberry (a bit of an experiment). Its roots are completely in the shade but it grows up into the light - the photograph was taken in the early morning. I'll let you know how well it fruits. The situation with our raspberries is similar and they usually do well although I think they tend to be taller than usual. We always get a good crop of raspberries - my favourite fruit

Bush tomato ready to go
More plants
Here (photo left) is a tomato plant looking for a good home. All planted up and ready to go, if you would like it. Just water and feed - and in this amazing sunshine, you'll have fruit in no time at all. Tomatoes are also available in small pots for you to pot up - more on that tomorrow

And, the Spring has been so good, the next batch of perennials are also ready to go - see photo below. Let me know if you would like a mixed box. They are young plants so best left to harden off in their pots a bit more before planting out

In both cases, just get in touch

Mixed perennials - hollyhocks, lupins, verbena etc

Happy gardening - best wishes from ...

... the Garden Codger

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