I don’t know about you, but as soon as the sun starts shining and the temperature starts creeping up to highs of 12 degrees, I start planning Spring/Summer barbecues in my head.
Then, I look out into our garden and see that it has been somewhat neglected over the past winter months and my barbecue dreams are crushed flat.
At the moment, our poor garden shows no sign of life and needs more than a little pampering session to be really barbecue friendly.
A complete dig out and re-landscaping would be most fitting, but as we have neither the time nor money to take on that scope of project at the moment, we will have to make do with a little bit of TLC in the quick fix department.
The Greek God(zilla) has very green fingers in the warmer months. He tends to the garden like a pro, primping the rose bushes, watering the various plants and picking fruit from the cherry tree, while I admire him from the patio with a chilled glass of rosé.
However, our garden has the potential to provide us with a feast every night of late summer and autumn if we set the right wheels in motion now.
Luckily, the East Dulwich WI March event was with local gardener, Jane Booth, from Jane’s Veg School. She gave a short talk about vegetable growing – how to get started, advice on good plants to put in pots or in the ground, and demonstrated a few planting ideas.
She also gave us a handy information sheet to take away with us, so we did not even need to make notes or go easy on the wine.
For example, did you know that it takes 3-6 weeks from seed to plate to grow a radish but a whopping 44-weeks for purple sprouting broccoli? I grew Zachy from seed to c-section incision in 42-weeks.
Potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce are good crops for beginners.
“Especially lettuce” Jane said “as you eat about two a day in the Summer”
Hmmmm, I think I can safely say we are not a two-lettuce-a-day household but the potatoes I’ll take.
Duke of York, red or white, are best. You fill a bucket sized pot one third with compost, put 2 potatoes in (only two??!) and as shoots appear, keep covering them with compost until you get to the top of the pot. Keep them near the house so you don’t forget to water them (Jane, they could be next to the kitchen sink and I would still forget to water them) and water every 3 days. Tip out at the end of June when stems and leaves keel over. Apparently you can put the soil on your flower beds.
Placed on each table was a selection of pots, soil and tomato seeds for us each to plant and take home with us. All we had to do was stick the pot in a shallow bowl of water for 10 minutes when we got home. Then just water it every few days until May, when it can be replanted outside in a sunny spot.
Did I remember?
Of course not.
At the next EDWI meeting, we will be getting creative with Vanessa Mills of Mini Print Jewellery. The EDWI meet on the first Wednesday of each month at The Lodge, above East Dulwich Tavern, 1 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, SE22 8EW. Meetings start at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome. www.eastdulwichwi.co.uk.