Well, bloody hell it’s March. How time flies. The last time I wrote about getting going with a veg patch, I was sitting in the kitchen with my Mac kind of planning things. And here I am again. I think it’s technically Spring but it doesn’t feel like it. Seeds should have gone in undercover last month, and I’ve procrastinated my way through freezing February doing nothing with the empty plot other than look at it with a mixture of terror and bewilderment from time to time.
In truth, we have done something in the garden. In January we hired a rotovator and turned the soil over (hands down the best ‘thighs, bums n’ tums’ workout ever) and we’ve also dug some old horse manure into the soil. That still feels like the easy bit.
Phase 2, which started in blind panic this week when the sun finally came out, began with me staring at a space that looks roughly like this (below) and thinking ‘what the hell goes where and when do I stick it in?!”
The problem with reading about gardening is that, until you start actually committing a plan to paper, you’re just reminded of how little you know. Books say things like, “sow seeds six weeks before the last frost”. Eh?! They might as well say, “plant when the moon is in the third sector on the night of a thousand stars when the fox’s breath is warm”.
So of course there was only one thing for it. A spreadsheet. A highly detailed plan of everything I want to grow, sorted by variety and then mapped according to when it ought to be sown and when I need to harvest. This is where I’ve got to on my GARDEN PLANNING (apologies, it downloads as a PDF). I copied the format from the River Cottage Veg Patch book and it reads more like a wish list at the moment. It isn’t finished. I still need to include the details on how to sow (e.g row widths etc). I don’t even know if it will all fit. I hope you like the colours. It’s a sore reminder that I probably just need to go back to work.
The next thing I need to do, apart from buying the bloody seeds, is physically draw up a diagram of what will go where. Presumably according to how much space you need to allow between each seed but also each row according to the growth potential of each variety. Not to mention allowing for sequential sowing to ensure I get an extended season for each veg variety rather than a massive glut of everything at any given time. Not forgetting to plan companion plants together for optimum growing and organic pest prevention. The whole thing strikes me as extremely complicated and looks like I might need to deploy maths (this is worrying since I was in super-thicko maths at school. I sat next to Jason and we passed the time cupping farts and blowing burps into each other’s faces. Jason was an early developer. At 14, his face was so large in comparison to my very small one that he could fit most my face into his gaping mouth. There was no escape from those burps).
I can’t help but think that the whole thing would be a lot easier if there was an app for all this. Maybe that will be my big Eureka moment, that brilliant business idea I’ve been waiting for. An app that sorts out all the garden planning for lazy city f***ers like me. I just googled quickly and many already exist. Rubbish idea anyway.
Oh well. No escape from the graft. Tempted to follow a friend’s father’s advice – “just stick it in the ground and see what happens”.