Mellow Mummy: Gardening Is In The Blood : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gardening Is In The Blood

A couple of weeks ago, my Dad posted a great blog about how Gardening is in his blood. Having delved into the old photo archives, he had found some great photos of his Mum (my grandmother, who I never met) and her garden in Malaya.

Dad is right, a love of gardening definitely runs in the family. My little sister has an array of gorgeous flowers, herbs and vegetables on her balcony and I have a love of all things edible. Having moved house in October, I had to leave my old, much-loved herb garden and now, with the first signs of spring, I am getting ready for a summer of edible crops and enlisting my own daughter to help out.

Last year I blogged about The Potato Story – I had won Lara a set of seed potatoes and she ate the result! This year I am hoping that Lara will take an even more active role in the gardening. This weekend we planted the first of our seed potatoes. This year she was with us when we first got the seed potatoes from her Grandpa and has seen us chitting them in the cool gloom of the utility room over the past few weeks. On Sunday, as the sun was shining, Lara helped me to put up the most developed of the chitted potatoes in a series of plastic buckets with holes drilled in the sides to aid drainage.

Lara helped me to fill the buckets with a thin layer of compost and place one or two small seed potatoes into each bucket before sprinking a layer of compost over them to cover them. She gave them a small amount of water and we've placed a line of buckets on our patio. We'll plant the rest of the potatoes (particularly the pink fir apples which seem to be a few weeks behind the others in terms of chitting) in a couple of weeks time.

We also took the opportunity to plant some chilli seeds. This year we are growing Thai Red Dragon, a traditional Cayenne pepper and a couple of Scotch Bonnets from a set of seeds I stole from a chilli whilst on holiday in the south of France. The chillis are now toasty warm inside the dark airing cupboard where I hope they will germinate.

The one last job that Lara and I got done this weekend was to start replenishing our supply of herbs. Since leaving my herb garden in Bracknell I've had to resort to shop-bought herbs for the past few months – what an enormous waste of money. We are not yet sure what the layout of our new garden is going to be so for this summer at least, I am planning on growing my herbs in pots and window boxes. I planted out some mint and some sage that I had taken cuttings of from the hold house and supplemented this with some bog-standard thyme and oregano from the garden centre. Finally, we planted some seeds for chives and basil in the summer months.

The best thing about the weekend was that Lara was there with me at the beginning of a new gardening journey for us both. The excitement in her eyes as she planted the potatoes and the eagerness the had to 'sort' the seeds and fill up the little seedling pots with soil was great to see. Here's to a shared summer of gardening with me and my little girl.

If you want to find out more about chitting and planting seed potatoes, read my Dad's blog post on the subject!
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