Appropriate labelling

Appropriate labelling.

10-04-2020Caroline Fuller

Life in the country is not always easy, but the garden is our happy place. It’s somewhere we both love to be and there is always something new to look at. Until this year when the farmer next door took a chainsaw to it, we used to enjoy standing on our side of the fence to watch a family of birds flying in and out of an old almond tree. Mum and dad birds feeding the babies. If we had been able to communicate fully in Catalan or Spanish we would have been able to tell the farmer they were nesting and to leave the tree. I’m not sure what the response might have been though.


I do find communication is key to a harmonious life in the country, I tell o/h I have planted seeds and I expect him to have taken full note of what and where I have planted them..... apparently not the case. Baffled by the none appearance of my latest showings of seeds I was delighted when I saw the first signs of life in one of the raised beds where I had planted some turnips and radish. For me it’s a delightful sight... little seedlings all fresh, green and full of promise. The next morning on my daily wander through the garden coffee in hand, I went to have a chat with the little seedlings and they were gone, not a sign of them. Well not a sign of them where they should have been, to one side was a neat little pile of said seedlings. No amount of denials is going to work. I know very well that it wasn’t dogs, cats, rodents, birds, snails or anything else we may have in the garden. Banned from using the strimmer near the veg beds (see strimming gate) O/h likes to help weed the raised beds and tweaks any greenery he sees when passing by and wandering around the garden, which we do frequently. The beds have now been appropriately labelled and the mystery of my non-growing seedlings solved.

Strimming gate

Our first growing season here and I had been pleased that the sweet peas I had sown were up and ready to climb. I had planted beans and peas to climb up bamboo canes, neat little lines of beetroot, carrots and some broccoli. All were growing beautifully until o/h decided to tidy up the garden with the strimmer. Oh, we certainly communicated that day! I love his help in the garden though and we do usually communicate very well, if he listens. Of the two of us, he is probably the better gardener in terms of tidiness but left to his own devices on recent history we wouldn’t have much to eat. O/h is happiest on the tractor and I find him areas to ‘tractor’ and keep him away from the growing areas.

O/h happiest on the tractorO/h happiest on the tractor.

Speaking of mysteries there is another reason for disappearing plants, one which is not so difficult to understand, it’s what I call ‘the stubby’. For this, we look to the seed bed/trays where once you witnessed the exciting beginnings of a new plant, be it flower or vegetable. When you look now you find little stubby stalks and no leaves, they look like sad little green sticks stuck in soil…

A stubby

The culprit will be lurking not too far away waiting for dusk or early morning when you are not looking, and then they will slide back out of hiding and finish the job of attacking whatever else leafy there is to be found! I’m talking about snails of course and their love of new growth. When I first started growing vegetables, I hadn’t thought of periodically looking under pots or seed trays to check for snails… nor was I that aware of the damage they can do. So unless you too have an over enthusiastic o/h in your garden, check for snails first at this time of year.

Appropriate labelling

P.S Thank you Jo who kindly responded to our ‘lawn’ issue, I have passed this to o/h who is quite determined to have his little patch to sit on and enjoy. I will also be checking out my neighbours gardens.


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