Sunday, June 2, 2024

In or out? I know what I like best

in my lady garden

What a tumultuous week we have ahead of us! So many things to decide upon.

Do I go OUT and pull some nettles up, or stay IN with a few large gins and watch England lose the football?

Do I go OUT for a nice big Chinese or have one to eat IN?


If it all goes pear-shaped in the EU Referendum and we are looking at years of economic gloom, you may need my tips for skinflint gardeners.

I grow lots of plants from seeds from the Asian cookery shops. Instead of paying £2.99 for a quarter of a teaspoon of seeds in a fancy packet from the garden centre, get bloody great bags for between a fiver and a tenner and use them for cooking and growing.

Simply buy wholeseeds of the following: coriander, fennel, fenugreek, linseed, dill, mustard, white and blue poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, cumin. You will probably have some of these in the cupboard for knocking up Britain’s most traditional meal, Chicken Tikka Masala.

Ok, the pumpkin may not end up to be of carriageable quality but you’re not dating Cinderella and her ugly sisters.

I like big bags of those little black bits you get in naan bread. No not the mouse droppings, the other crunchy aromatic bits. They are called Kalonji or black onion seeds, also known when they flower as love-in-a-mist or Nigella.

nigella seedsNigella: uncultivated variety

They grow into lovely little flowers, not as big as the cultivated garden seeds but a nice tangly little thing.

And who, among my male readers, wouldn’t like to find Nigella swaying in their long grass?

nigella lawsonNigella: cultivated variety

If you buy some tomatoes you particularly like, cut one in half and shove it in some compost. Do the same with a single clove of garlic and you’ll always have a supply to keep Dracula from giving you a love bite.

Of course, not everything in the kitchen cupboard will grow into what it says. I never did manage to grow a Carnation from a tin of milk.

To plant your seeds, just sprinkle a selection into a food bag, then why not get stuck into a bottle of Prosecco? Take a haphazard wobbly walk around the garden or allotment, singing “Agadoo-doo-doo shake pineapple from the tree,” just chuck them around, or in between the “proper plants” and hope they take. If you’re really pissed, do it in the rain so they get washed in a bit and make a good start.

I don’t want to put Suffolk’s famous potato farmer Maurice Piper out of a job but you can even grow spuds from the peelings if they have “eyes” beginning to sprout from them.

If you “grow on” herbs from the supermarket, as I told you last week, do remember that mint is extremely invasive so you should trap the roots in a container. The one in my photo is ideal.

mint in suffolk gazette mugMint can be kept in a precious family heirloom cup

This week my husband bought me a new deluxe Garden kneeler. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who likes to get down and dirty in the garden without hurting themselves with pebbles or getting aching limbs. He bought it from Wyevale’s, from the Monica Lewinksy range. It’s also handy when pulling out weeds, and can be turned the other way if you want a stool for a sit down and quick swig of Adnams.

With all this rain there is little you can do in the garden, but the damp soil will make it easy to pull out those nettle and thistles.

Jobs to do this wet week

* Get the Tesco man to delivery a fridgeful of wine and beer and plenty of ice cream and lollies for that glorious moment when the weather changes and you are sunbathing, praying for a shower.

* Find your mac so you can be ready to vote on Thursday.

* Have a bet on Brexit or Remain online without even braving the shower.

* Nip to the greenhouse or shed and plant some wallflower seeds to go outside in the autumn.

Answers to your problems

* Mr S Y: Stick to the lupins. You can’t GROW a Schengen border in the garden. It is something to do with EU borders, not bedding plants.

* Mr R S from Halesworth: Your wife is right. You should always wipe your tool before putting it away.

* Mrs J T from Finborough: Now is the time to harvest your rhubarb. Otherwise all you have to look forward to is an old woody stalk. Most people have a big run on rhubarb at the moment.


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