Garden number twos...
...not those number twos! They are never welcome in the garden! However Sarah O’Neil’s list of twos most certainly are.
Spring is the real start of the year, much like a birthday, for my garden. It makes sense for a gardener to start counting off the year from the beginning of the growing season. This is a time loaded with anticipation and excitement that this season will be the best ever. Spring also brings my two favourite things — sowing seeds and sunny days.
2 things everyone should have in the garden
You can even have them in a pot on a windowsill or in a container at the back door. A seedling from a garden centre or a sprinkle of seeds can give you a freshness that money can’t buy. They recover in late summer and only the frost stops them. You will get so many you won’t be able to give them away. Harvest them while they are small or you will end up with marrows.
The average salad leaf seed packet will have up to 1000 seeds, each one capable of forming up to 1000 salad plants. A light scattering of seeds every couple of weeks will give you fresh salad all summer. It is super easy.
2 of the easiest things to grow
The most prolific vegetable there is. They are easy to sow and grow and are one of the first vegetables to start producing a harvest. The powdery mildew in the middle of the season comes as a relief as they slow down. They recover in late summer and only the frost stops them. You will get so many you won’t be able to give them away. Harvest them while they are small or you will end up with marrows.
We don’t actually like green beans all that much, however they always seem to find their way into my garden. A garden without beans doesn’t seem complete so every year I sow them and then neglect them a little, subconsciously hoping for a reduced harvest. I always get a bumper crop. Although they are like peas, the more you pick the more you get.
2 of the hardest things to grow
Every year I sow a row of celery seeds in great expectation that this year they will look like the ones in the store. It never happens. I end up with short, stubby little plants with thin stalks. I eat them anyway and they still taste good. They can be quite fickle and need a lot of moisture. But if farmers can grow them it must be possible.
These are notorious for growing short, stumpy, forked and twisted. The secret is to have a deep row of light and fluffy soil with no sticks, stones and obstacles. Avoid putting rich organic material in your carrot patch as this can make them fork. Sow them straight into the garden.
2 of the best kept gardening secrets
While the temptation is strong to race out and plant everything at once, each plant has its own special needs and starting too early can adversely affect the harvest. Find out what your plants need before putting them in the ground.
Seedlings look tiny and it is hard to imagine them full size. But they will get big — some even bigger than you! Check the seed packet or plant label for spacing distances, they are pretty spot-on.
2 ways to kill snails
My purpose is to grow food for my family to eat, not feed the masses of slimly slugs and snails lurking in the hidden depths of my garden. I have seen photos of snails climbing over razor blades, so they are not something to treat lightly if you want a harvest.
My favourite way to control them is using the little blue snail and slug pellets, to keep my seedlings safe. Used sparingly (and protecting birds and animals by using an upturned icecream container with "doors'’ cut in the sides) ensures my plants grow past the vulnerable stage and eventually end up on my plate!
Another proven method to deter the beasties is a copper band about 5cm wide around the side of your container or raised bed. They don’t like to cross over the copper, although if it is too thin they will give it a go.
2 items from the spring garden that make good quick meals
are most prolific in a spring garden. Harvested when they are small and tender they make a delicious treat when cut in half with the choke removed and barbecued with butter and a squeeze of lemon.
Nothing beats fresh, minutes-old asparagus, simply steamed, with a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. So sweet and tender.
Sarah O’Neil, Hubby the Un-Gardener and their two boys have planted a large garden as part of their journey to discover “the good life”. Visit Sarah’s website sarahthegardener.co.nz.