Spring Plans for Garden and sketch-a-day #100DayProject

by Ailbhe on April 18, 2017

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Well, that Easter Weekend came and went pretty swiftly, didn’t it? Whoosh. All in a rush of gardening activity here which was good to achieve but not exactly what I call a restful break. Amazing how everything takes much longer than you expect when it comes to gardening. However we have managed to turn the unruly, straggly just-out-of-winter-bed look our little garden was sporting into a here-comes-the-summer hairdo and new outfit. If you know what I mean.

I had already started a week or so ago by pulling up and either eating or composting the winter purslane which had lasted all through winter and in March I had sowed some broad beans in pots in readiness for an April planting. But first I needed to tackle snails and slugs and that meant a good tidy and weeding (groan), raking over the soil, ordering in some slug nematodes, grow bags and good rich compost all ready for the big Easter Garden Workout. Grass was cut, edges were trimmed and, after a thorough watering, we applied the nematodes, then dressed with some good compost (a mix of our own hotbin compost and a local garden nursery compost) and finished with a final nematode application over that. Next the broad beans were planted and staked, onions sets and garlic (yes they’re all a bit late but we’ll see how it goes) were planted, potatoes (already chitted) were sown into potato bags for ease of moving around the garden. Tomato grow bags were placed up in situ (it’ll be a few weeks before the young plants I’ve grown will be ready to plant out), french / runner cane supports set up (I’m about to sow some french/runner hybrid beans under cover this week), container pots of herbs and flowers given some new compost – the dahlias which I left outside for winter in pots seemed to have survived – and the kaffir lime plant was allowed outdoors with some new feed and is loving the little bit of sun we’ve had. And of course lots of pricking out and potting on for chillies and nicotiana and extra tomatoes. This year I have some vegetable seeds from Santorini that we bought / gathered on holiday last year. The cherry tomatoes have germinated, it’ll be interesting to see how they go here and I’m about to sow some Santorini capers, fava beans and aubergine. More in hope than expectation as I don’t have a hot greenhouse to grow them in but if the summer is fine we do have a very hot south-west facing garden.

Late last autumn I set up a net cloche and sowed a variety of winter vegetables most of which seemed to be Winter Purslane. A few weeks ago I removed the netting exposing the vibrant winter vegetables which we ate and later pulled up to compost in preparation of the new growing season. Seeds were sown, plans made.

All that took up most of 3 days of the Easter Weekend. Good Friday had already been spent recovering and lolling about after a pretty full-on working week which preceded it for both T and myself. So all in all not a lot of exciting getting-out-and-about time during the weekend. The garden better produce some fine veggies and flowers this year or I’ll be pretty miffed and if those pesky slugs, snails, aphids, squirrels and foxes think they can wander in and mess things up they better be prepared for some payback (sounds very ‘Trump’, no?).

The garden at the end of Easter Monday. That scattering of pots and bags on the bare vegetable bed is just my effort to deter the local cats from using the bare bed as a toilet area. They’ve yet to discover that the bed has been cleared of most plants, but they’ll be back. Bastards. As you can see it’s a very small London garden but we get a lot of produce – and fun – from it.

However, during some much needed sit-downs to admire work done and reflect upon the stuff still to do, I decided to burden myself with another creative task. Why not start a #100DayProject and sign up to produce a drawing / sketch / doodle / scribble everyday with the aim of upping my illustrative skills. So that’s what I’m doing for my sins. I’ll post on a new Instagram feed under the title ailbhephelan (it’ll be a pure illustration feed) as well as on my simplysplendiferous AND my decoder_design (design work studio) feeds. I’m starting with #15minsmax sketches to ease me in as surely I can put aside 15 mins to doodle something? I’ll try out some of my new gang of various pens; brush pens, fountain pens, dipping pens or some inks or paints or the bagful of pencils I’ve accumulated over the years. I started on Easter Sunday but had yet to set up the dedicated instagram account ailbhephelan and I’m delighted to see that you can now have multiple accounts on Instagram itself without the need for an external app to switch between accounts. Since Day 1 was on 16 April, Easter Sunday, my last day will be 25 July (does quick double check – a few times). Ok. This is so out of my comfort zone, I hate making commitments that I’m not sure I can keep *squirms*. Go for it.

Sketch #1 Easter Sunday, obviously something garden related as that’s how I was rocking!

Sketch #1 Easter Sunday, obviously something garden related as that’s how I was rocking!

For more information about the concept behind the 100 Day Project see here www.the100dayproject.com

Oh here’s something we did sneak in during the Easter Garden Workout. Tony spied these discarded cast iron ends of benches and table in a skip on his way back from tennis practice. Enough for 3 benches and 1 table that’ll be perfect (once new wood has been attached) for the new community garden in this road. Together with a neighbour we rescued them and they’ll get a new lease of love soon. Not gardening but garden related!




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