Before hitting 50 next year, former SNJ news editor Sandra Ashenford has compiled a bucket list of 50 goals to achieve before her birthday.
The aim is to do one every week.
LIST item No 39 — grow 50 things from seed
Should I ever fail to deliver, in terms of quality or quantity, the feeding requirements that my cat believes are her due, she will remind me of my responsibilities by leaving half-chewed furry corpses around the house.
This is as if to say: “We both know I’m quite capable of catching my own dinner, but it would be so much better for all parties if you waited on me instead.”
The dogs, too, are happy to remind me about feeding time (which would be all the time, if they had their way), and even the goldfish have perfected a way of swimming to the front of the tank in a meaningful “feed me” fashion.
Alas, no plant of mine has ever worked out how to remind me of its needs; instead they all suffer in silence and by the time I notice the curled leaves and drooping stems, it tends to be just a bit too late.
So I thought I would make up for my foliage floral faux pas by growing 50 things from seed and swelling the ranks of the green and the good.
I envisaged this summer having a garden bursting with beautiful blooms in glorious colours.
This wasn’t quite how it turned out, mainly because flower seeds need rather more time and patience than I had allowed.
I hadn’t really thought about the need to plant in the spring in trays in the greenhouse, or about thinning out the seedlings and then potting on.
So, we broadened the scope to allow bulbs and tubers, and we ended up with gladioli, acidanthera, freesias, anemones, dahlias, begonias, poppies, cornflowers, marigolds and sunflowers.
Most of them grew and some of them flowered but it wasn’t quite the horticultural success I had originally imagined.
And, obviously, it was also woefully short of the target, so we also planted grass seed in the paddock, and potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, lettuce, mixed salad leaves, cucumbers and runner beans in the garden or greenhouse.
I’m on much safer ground with vegetables — I know what they are supposed to look like and I enjoy eating the end result.
But as that still wasn’t nearly enough, we also planted cress, basil, parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme in pots on the kitchen windowsill.
These are also doing well and, if I’m honest, are at my preferred level for gardening; they are nicely contained in pots and I don’t even have to go outside to look after them.
Even so, after what seemed like a mass of planting, we still only managed 25 different things in total.
Still, as I planted at least two of everything, I’ve decided that it still counts.
What’s on your bucket list?
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