potting up thyme (c) Rianne Mason

July garden journal

Potting up and giving away herbs

I had a great time sharing out all of my little seedlings and giving them space to get bigger. I’m still in awe of the joy that can be gained from a little packet of seeds – it was only a few weeks ago that I sowed them.

I’ve been potting up my oregano and broad-leafed thyme. Somewhere along the way my labels got mixed up and I was confused for a while which one was which (how broad-leafed is broad-leafed thyme?).
I think I figured it out though, and now 10 other people are sharing the joy too!

Building a willow wigwam for sweet peas

willow-wigwam-770x500

Pretty impressed with this one. It’s not that often I get to build something, though it’s happening a lot more now I’m gardening. We had a huge willow bush that my dad cut back and now we can use the sticks for all sorts. Mum’s sweet pea domination required a bit of housing so I quickly made a wigwam with three willow branches and string.

Willow is resilient stuff, so be warned. Even though it’s been chopped up in a pile for a few months it’s already started to sprout leaves and re-start it’s mission!

A note about planting things in the garden that has a lot of roots already – break up the roots a little before putting them in (thanks mum!)

Learning how to take cuttings

I went to the lovely Derbyshire Eco centre this month to attend an RHS course open day. I wanted to learn about the practical course and sign up for a placement. As part of the open day we were taught how to take cuttings – my first ‘official’ practical training.

I have to say I enjoy the practical side of these studies much more than the theory, even if I’m struggling with taking a cutting. It took me three attempts to understand to cut below a node on the plant, but then cut above the node on your cutting before planting, whilst ensuring you have around three sets of leaves in the cutting. But this is what starting from scratch is all about.

Sowing more basil

three-basils-770x500I may have forgotten I has these basil seeds from beansandherbs.co.uk a couple of months ago (when I got excited about heritage seeds). But luckily I think I remembered them just in time, just a few days after sowing and they’re coming through – we’ll see how they go.

Making comfrey compost tea

Comfrey-tea-770x500

We grow comfrey at the Inspire Community Garden to create the organic fertiliser for our crops. I can tell you it definitely works! Just chop up your comfrey leaves (making sure you leave about a third of the plant in the ground) and add water. It’s roughly 6-7 kg per 100 litres of water. If you’ve got a hessian sack it’s better to put the leaves in that first so that they don’t block up the tap. Leave for around 4 weeks and you have your fertiliser. It will smell so you might want to make it far away from the house.

I was doing this in the rain – which is why I look like a drowned rat.

Learning about the principles of garden planning

And so unit 5 of the RHS theory course begins. This one is all about garden surveys, basic design principles and the characteristics of hard (e.g walls and paths) and soft (plants) landscaping.

I’m enjoying learning about the different forms and textures of plants, and how different colour schemes can affect our mood and sense of space. However, understanding the different qualities of concrete and the dimensions of steps may be sending me to sleep…

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