|On to the tomatoes. It takes a looong time to pot up this many seedlings. The ones on the left in the yoghurt pots are Brandywine; the ones on the right are Gardener’s Delight. Large yoghurt pots make excellent pots for seedlings – just create some holes in the bottom first (I use one end of a skewer, held in a gas flame, to melt the holes – the plastic is less likely to crack that way.)|
|I then had a brainwave about what to do with that leaky, defunct water butt which had been lying in a corner. It’s now been pressed into service as a plinth for one of my containers – see pic. The great thing is that the container is now at chest height so I won’t have to bend down to pick those baby spinach leaves when they finally grow. (No backache!) To stop the water butt from toppling over, I’ve crowded some other things around it – namely, a heavy ceramic pot and an old aluminium dustbin, which is no longer needed as a dustbin ‘cos the council have given us wheelie bins.|
|The rectangular white thing on the ground is a polystyrene fish box, which I’ve planted with some of the strawberry runners that survived the winter. I adopt a “survival of the fittest” policy with strawberries – pot up the runners into small pots early in the autumn, then leave them outside for the whole winter. Then pot up into bigger containers – like the fish box – in the spring. Last year our strawberries were delicious; it’s just a shame there weren’t more of them! I’m hoping to remedy that this year.|
Went to local boot fair this morning and picked up six metal hanging baskets for £2.50! These will be fab for the rest of my Tumbling Tom tomato plants.
Weather is hot and muggy at the moment – if you lift the lid of our compost bin and poke your head inside, it must be all of 40 deg. C in there. At least. I have been doing a bit of research on compost, and it’s surprising the kind of things that will compost down quite happily – old wool and cotton clothes, human and cat hair, urine, cardboard egg boxes/loo roll cores… Actually, the latter are essential to provide a bit of “brown waste” to balance out the “green waste”, which is all your vegetable peelings, grass clippings etc. Having both types of waste ensures that your compost rots down consistently and ends up with a lovely crumbly texture and beautiful smell, rather than being all slimy. It might seem strange to wax lyrical about home made compost as I am here, but it really is fantastic stuff. As long as you’ve got a patch of soil to put your compost bin on, and ideally another patch of soil next to it, then it really is a worthwhile investment. Why is it good to have a bit of space next to your compost bin? Because it’s a great place for burying the nearly-useable-but-not-quite-there compost that you find in your bin when you “turn” your compost every few weeks in the summer. Stick some old carpet on top, leave for a fortnight and let the worms finish the job.
Mistyhorizon over at Hub Pages recommends using spent compost – mixed with a bit of sand – to grow carrots. That’s something I will definitely be trying next year. I’ve had a singular lack of success with container carrots so far, but I don’t think there’s anything to lose by giving it one more go – particularly as I won’t be shelling out any cash!