At my little pad in the middle of London, I live with my plant-mates in their 1st floor garden. By its very nature, though one can go to a garden centre, something is deeply wrong about “buying” a garden. A garden grows and a garden should be grown.
Now, I never even set out to have an actual garden. But I somehow got the idea of trying to grow the seeds of everything that I eat. The greatest success is the avocados, of which I have about 25 living plants and the largest one being a twin plant of almost 1.5 metres (approx 5ft), closely followed by apple plants in number and further down the latter lemons, melons, peaches, butternut squash and a couple of sprouts from my lucky incubation box, that could be many different species, yet looks like neither.
Curiosity spurred, it became mentally difficult to merely deal with a four-element approach of seeds, soil, sprout and potluck. So I entered into an area of scientific experiment, methodology, monitoring and optimisation. One of the main findings and main challenges –as I’d image many a gardener has found out- is that patience and persistence are the main virtues of a hobby gardener who wants to move in this world.
Thus I have settled on a couple of key concepts that balances my impatience and somewhat inconsistent interest in the garden with nature’s rhythm:
– artificial winter, which is based on the observation that most seed sprout fairly quickly when they are moved from cold to warmer. This means that I store all my seeds queing for planting in the fridge
– the incubation box is still around, but is no longer reliant on luck for sprouting
– then, as fast as possible moving the sprout onto my first floor balcony as this is very windy and the poor little ones need to grow up in the wind to become sturdy enough for a life out there
– then, importantly, there’s the Darwinian principle of letting some of the weaker links, who seem to want to die, die
– still, I’m insisting on not buying anything for the garden (except soil, paradoxically), so it becomes a rather complex system of buckets, baskets and other repurposed containers, planters found on the street and so forth. Consequently, I can only plant out, expand or add when also the amount of containers has grown, which, to say the least, is highly irregular.
Its complicated, it time consuming, its dirty, it irreversible ..its so very nature and its mine!