I’ve mentioned the “yawk” up before, although it’s fair to say I may have miss-spelled it in the past. Suffice to say, the term has nothing whatsoever to do with the fine city of York and everything to do with a 2make do and mend” approach to those niggling little problems that seem to assail most of us, almost on a daily basis. I’ve been guilty in the past of over watering seed trays, seedlings and the like and not really caring to do something about it. My two watering cans are both a decent size but the roses, even when carefully managed, can deliver far too much water in a very short time. Any road up, I’ve finally had to replace the thingummy (the one that goes on the end of a hosepipe and delivers water in different ways), I’ve lived with the leaks running down my arm for a couple of years but I decided enough was enough and splashed out a tenner on a new one, this time with an off lever. It’s a revelation. I did throw the old one away, but then I got to thinking maybe I could adapt it to allow me more control when I just need to direct a small amount of water onto a small surface. I won’t go into the whole schmozzle, I’d bore you senseless, suffice to say, with the help of a hacksaw, a short length of hose, the thingummy set to its smallest “hole”, a bit of gaffer tape and a half hour consultation with Dave I’ve created the perfect tool for the job. I won’t be applying for patent, but I’ve decided to call it “The Firth Ingenious Seedling Waterer” so as not to confuse it with more mundane watering cans.
This is the first year I haven’t had access to Norman’s airing cupboard: me being me I thought all such spaces would be equally adept at recreating the conditions required to stimulate rapid germination of my tomato seeds. This clearly isn’t the case. Three weeks on and the sum total of my efforts is 42 seeds planted, zero germination. I think I know why, in fact, to be honest I was told why. Norman’s airing cupboard had a poorly lagged copper tank with shelves above, trapping the heat near the floor. My airing cupboard isn’t really an airing cupboard at all, it’s just a space for storing towels. Not warm enough. As a consequence, and as if the lack of warmth wasn’t enough, I watered the trays at the same rate I used to water them at Normans. Not the wisest move I’ve ever made, consequently I’ve started again, placing them in propagators on a bedroom windowsill directly above a radiator. The last thing I want to be doing is buying tomato plants, I don’t think some of the varieties I’m trying to grow are readily available in plant form.
It happens every year, a potato, sometimes two or three, which has been missed during harvesting, decides to poke its head out of the ground, in, I suppose, an attempt to create its own brand of life. Usually I dig them up and throw them away, I’m always going to be putting spuds in anyway and, more often than not, because I tend to rotate (not me personally) they’re always in the wrong place, if a greenhouse can be considered the wrong place for potatoes (which, to be fair, it can). This handsome specimen is growing alongside a stitch which I haven’t yet planted up, but which would have had potatoes in at least part of it anyway. By the look and size of it I’m anticipating a feed from it by mid May. There’s very little to rival the flavour of a freshly dug “new” potato.
The grapevine, along with the excellent fruit it provides, is one of my favourite things in the greenhouse. Apart from the tomatoes and strawberries it’s probably the most “at home” in there. Water seems to be a problem that’s bedeviling me this year (there’s always something); I was beginning to get concerned, buds usually start to appear along the vine by mid March and I always get a bit of a buzz when I see them. It’s been pretty cold and the vine’s sited just beside the door, so I’m guessing the roots make their way underneath the concrete path, as well as being inside the house itself. Took me a while to realise, probably whilst I was sat underneath it contemplating my navel, that it might need a bit of a kick start, we haven’t had a great deal of rain in the last couple of weeks or so. I boiled up a couple of kettles to take the chill off the water, I have a direct underground feed and set about watering. The vine was very thirsty, to say the least, but by Thursday of last week buds had started to appear and by Sunday we were seeing all the nodules producing healthy shoots. A great relief, there used to be a second vine on the other side of the house, but that doed back some years ago, I’d hate to lose this one, they take a while to get established.
It isn’t all about putting seeds on compost and plants on the ground though. Spring awakens other life besides plants and although I do understand that all life is precious I draw the line at putting a row of peas and beans in, just so Mr & Mrs Mouse can come along and eat the fruits of my labour whilst they commence the annual business of procreation. I don’t have a problem with putting bait down but I do have a problem with all the money the bait makers want me to spend to buy the extras that come along with it. It’s common knowledge that, as tiny as mouse brains are, they’re creatures of habit and they tend to follow the same routes they normally use. I’ve laid three lots of bait inside “culverts” made from a fertiliser box into which I’ve fashioned both entrance and exit. I haven’t labelled them as such, they can use either doorway, so long as they pass through, feeding as they go. I’ve planted a couple of things out which I’m prepared to lose, so I can guage the success or otherwise of my rodent control measures.
A quick visit to the cold frame reveals more evidence of the limited success with seeds and the main reason behind it. A couple of broad beans, four peas, a solitary leek and one measly Jalapeno, providing clear evidence of the need for the invention of the waterer. A combination of over watering and a heavy, water retaining compost has badly affected germination. So much so that just this morning I riddled half a bag of compost (which I hope has removed much of the peat) and planted another 24 capsicum, 4 each of six different varieties. It wouldn’t be spring in the greenhouse without some mini catastrophe or another, here’s hoping I’ve made the right decisions to get things back on track, even if it’s a little later than expected.
Potatoes aren’t the only things that self seed or germinate. Although tomato plants can be very vulnerable when young I always seem to get a few seedlings sprouting along the centre tomato stitch, even though it’s been dug over and left un-watered since I put the muck in. It’s no exaggeration to say that this year there are literally hundreds. I have been known to carelessly discard the odd fruit on the ground during the season but I’m blaming my friend the blackbird. He ate the flesh of as many low hanging fruits as he could manage, but I’m guessing he wasn’t a fan of the seeds. I was going to hoe them all back in and treat them as weeds but I decided to nurse some along, with dual purpose in mind. Spares, if disasters continue to happen and gifts for neighbours if all goes well. I know one or two who’ll be glad of a plant or two, come the end of May.
The Truth Of The Matter (Not a real philosopher)
Since around the time of the “Brexit” vote and possibly even before we’ve all heard references to something called “Post Truth”. So popular has it become that it now carries a dictionary definition, one I’d be hard pressed to better, so I won’t bother. Post Truth is defined as;
“relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
I’m guessing we could all come up with our own favourite examples of this phenomenon, “women have penises, men have cervix’s”, “illegal immigrants arriving on our shores in dinghies and the backs of lorries are all women and children fleeing war zones”, “we can reverse climate change if we stop using fossil fuels today”, “the WEF is a benign and altruistic entity with the best interests of humanity as its core principle”, “the US Presidential election was an exercise in democratic probity”, “Orange Man Bad” and so on, no nuance, no dissension, all presented to us as incontrovertible fact, when we all know, based on the evidence of our own ears and eyes, that it’s anything but. For me the continuing lies surrounding “vaccines”, in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary, offers up both a lesson and a warning. I’m not going to labour the point, Postaliers are both discerning and knowledgeable in this regard, but the numbers refuse to stack up. 500,000 cases in one week? 21 million infections in total (and counting)? 50 million people (and counting) who’ve had at least two doses. Within all these numbers, admittedly readily available, there’s a refusal of recognition that, just possibly, people are getting poorly (sometimes seriously so) because of the “vaccines” and not in spite of them. I think, intentionally or otherwise, the “vaccines” are compromising weakened immune systems and contributing to people being ill and not just with Covid, but the Government and their MSM lackeys want to spare your feelings, by telling you “just one more shot” and we’ll be over the hump.
Post Truth Indeed.
Next Time; The bean tripods, some real germination, mouse wars, more hooptedoodle…..
© Colin Cross 2022