Gardening Weekend?

Last weekend was Labour Weekend, the three-day weekend widely thought of as Gardening Weekend, as this is when it’s generally safe to plant tomatoes, cucurbits and a bunch of other summer things. Of course, I usually scoff at this notion because you can plant them earlier or later. It’s not like you’ve missed the boat if you didn’t plant the things on Labour Weekend and I’m usually on the boat before now. However, this year I was a Labour Weekend garden junkie, because 1) I hadn’t been able to get crops in yet because baby and home learning for a 6-year-old boy and sore arm from covid vaccine #2 one weekend and 2) The Husband was home for three days so he could at least help with the kids some of the time.

Apparently I forgot to notify the weather that it was Gardening Weekend. It did not want to cooperate, but I was gardening anyway. First, it was decidedly windy; so windy that my lips got windburn. We’ve lost a bit of shelter lately but windburn in the garden?! Maybe being perched up in the apple tree, pruning it, was a bit overboard. But I didn’t get to do it when I was pregnant! Yes, the pruning withdrawal is a real thing. Never mind timing anymore, I just want to whip all the trees into shape! Ok, put the pruning saw down and slowly back away.

The Little Fulla and I sowed some corn in the Front Plot, in the garlic row wherever the garlic wasn’t. Note to self: don’t grow garlic where any summer crops need to go. At least I planted the garlic early so some of it might not be too far off.

Let’s segway into the garlic for a minute. You may remember the Garlic Trial. I planted five varieties of garlic to see which ones did the best, after having previously given up due to garlic rust. There is a noticeable difference in how they are faring. The two early garlic varieties, planted in late March got rust. The three main crop varieties, planted in mid May, are looking much better. Well, I’m glad some of them are doing well. I’ll do a rundown on all of them after harvesting them.

Before we sowed the corn we needed to rip out the kale, so we harvested all the good kale leaves for freezing then pulled the plants and chucked them to the chickens. They’ve been rolling in green things lately. There were some potato shoots from potatoes that must have gotten left behind last season, so we forked them up and got a nice little bonus harvest of Agria potatoes. Somewhere along the way The Little Fulla wound up in the fig tree, bouncing around on the bendy branches like a little monkey. Well, at least he was outside having fun. Then I ended up with a sink full of kale leaves. I washed them, stuffed them in a large ziplock bag and put them in the freezer to whizz into kale flakes later. Must remember to put kale flakes in all the things.

Bonus potatoes.
The chickens are having the Feast of Spring: finished crops, evicted crops, crops going to seed and weeds.

To complement the wind, the rain arrived next. This was right when I wanted to plant some tomatoes and seed potatoes. I pulled out some weeds while I waited for the rain to subside but it got worse. Ah well, I needed to go inside anyway. We were playing Russian Poohlette, aka Make Mummy Nervous, because Miss Scarlet had not pooped all day. The poop had finally landed, while Miss Scarlet was in bed for her last nap, getting on her sleepsack again for the umpteenth time this week. Being a giant poop by this stage, it required two parents and a bath, plus a big brother singing a song to help calm her down. She wasn’t upset about the poop, she doesn’t like having baths.

I kept forgetting that I couldn’t just go out and plant my beautiful seedlings. There were things that needed to be done first, here, there and everywhere, like getting rid of weeds, pulling out old crops, freezing or using harvested crops, loosening and tidying the soil, adding compost to some raised beds… All these things didn’t magically get done over the last few months. I just have to do each bit at a time. Just do something.

In the end, between the rain showers that turned into downpours, the horde of sandflies that attacked me and the gaps between my eagerness and the garden task reality, I only got 14 tomatoes planted and some corn sowed, plus some basil and sunflower seeds sowed in trays. That’s just a dent in what I have to plant, but it’s something. I made progress! Mostly I’m just really glad I’ve got a whole bunch of seedlings grown, healthy and there to be planted. I could have shelved sowing seeds when I had a newborn baby because it was hard, but I knew things would get easier over time and I would regret it if I didn’t have crops to plant in the garden, so I started the veggie crops, bit by bit. Now that we’re in lockdown and can’t just go browse and buy seedlings, I’m even more grateful. Here’s to growing food, one bit at a time!

Planting the first tomatoes of the season in the Front Plot.

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