Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unfinished Tips/ Take Two

Here is some of the wisdom gathered by my dad and me (but mainly him) through experimenting in the garden in King Mariout.

- Sunshine, and how much of it a plant gets, is about 90% of it. Duh.

- Non-chemical ways to deter snails and slugs: the bucket-of-beer one does NOT work. Maybe UK slugs are boozy we dol mottadayeneen, but they don't go after the beer in a frenzy and drown like they're supposed to. Nothing happens. What does work is a ring of copper wire around the base of the plant, the little slime-streakers won't cross over it for some reason.

- Basil attracts bees. A beeless garden is a sad one indeed.

- Talk to, or otherwise spend quality time with, your plants daily. No really.


That was a post I'd started sometime back in April, the last time I posted. I never finished it and in fact haven't posted since then because my dad, who was battling lung cancer at the time, took a turn for the worse and passed away sometime in June (I think. Bit shaky on the date to be honest). After that I kind of lost the plot (literally and figuratively).

Part of the reason I couldn't handle it, I think, is because the only reason I know anything at all about gardening is my dad. It's not only tougher without his practical support and know-how, it was also hard to get back to it when I'd never had a gardening experience that wasn't about spending time with him (along with antiquing, it was our thing). Not to mention the fact that what made me start this project in the first place was that I wanted properly organic food for the super-healthy diet I'd put him on, believing it would help. I guess it kind of worked - even up to the end, he was in perfect health apart from the cancer. Ha.

Anyway I went with my mum to the garden in Alex a couple weeks ago, and tended the garden for the first time without him. Though I was crying into my crocs, it felt alright. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I more or less successfully pruned what needed pruning and got rid of this tiny furry white pest sucking the life from our apricot tree and precious grapevine, basically by wiping it off one little bugger at a time. So I think I'm ok to start work on my own vegetable garden (and my blog!) again, but I'm back to square one. And this time I'm going to need lots and lots of help.

There's manure on the soil now, and I'm going to look into this double digging thing (thanks for the comments, everyone! I'll get back to everyone individually soon). There's only a couple months to get ready (as far as I remember, I can start sowing in late Feb, right?), so whatever tips you have for me, please send them my way! I'm still hoping to grow all our own veg, as well as hopefully get the neighbours involved - I'd love to see the underutilised building garden turned into a lush veg patch that feeds the entire building.

Right now though, I could really do with a bit of encouragement.