All the T’s

Technology has obviously had an impact on gardening. There are very few walks of life I imagine that have not been touched to date. Since starting this blog and being thrown into using more technology I have realised just how little my actual job has changed. Yes, there are irrigation systems, the plants I grow can be F1 hybrids that have been created by science and grown in nurseries using computers and mechanisation to make the job more efficient, but the actual job of front line gardening has changed very little in terms of the implements I use and how I use them.

Working on large tree limbs, I may reach for the chainsaw instead of having a work out sawing by hand but there is no computer programme I can set running to prune a tree for me or edge a lawn.

I may check my emails and texts to communicate with clients, but other than that I do not have any reliance on computers on a daily basis for work. Spades and forks maybe made from stronger, more modern materials, but their design has changed little, and I am sure today the wheel barrow we use would still be recognisable to Chuko (Zhuge) Liang who is reported to have designed the first wheel barrow in around 200 BC.

Not only have the tools, not evolved beyond recognition but the processes are still the same as they would have been by gardeners down the centuries. Digging, Sowing, Planting Out and Watering are all still vital components of Gardening. (We will debate the no dig approach at some point in the future I’m sure.)

Weeding was, and is a vital part of keeping your borders healthy and looking their best. It is still labour intensive hard work, which should be starting now. On nice days when the ground is not frozen, get out there and stop those early weeds in their tracks. It will pay dividends later. Particularly, with bittercress, that reproduces many times in a season. Pull out the first plants and you will reduce the number you have to weed later in the summer.

Sticking with the letter T, my Tomato seeds of choice came this week. I have experimented with many varieties of tomato over the years, Black Cherry, Sungold, Gardeners Delight, Marmande, and Franchi Seeds Italian Plum tomatoes to name but a few. Certainly, in the last two years though despite producing good sized fruits and a bountiful harvest, I have been less than happy with the taste.

I had been wondering if it was me, missing something or the weather but thanks to the article in The Garden (RHS magazine) August 18  all about their tests of Cherry tomatoes, I read that they were less than happy with the performance of some of these varieties too and so much so that Gardeners Delight has lost its AGM (Award of Garden Merit) for being too variable. Many of the 23 plants in the trial seemed to be deemed ‘not well flavoured’ so what to choose for my Tomato of choice this year?  I have gone for ‘Sweet Baby’ a good size, colour and flavour it was reported so we will see. ‘Sweet Apperitif’ Seems to be the other winner of the article so maybe I will grow both and make a contest out of it.

I was planning on finishing this week with a final T, Threats and the dangers to our gardens we face as we get ready for another years gardening but will save that till next week and just add a few words about winter wet. Which seems appropriate given the current weather. Lots of plants die over the winter because they are in wet ground which then freezes. Olive trees for example are hardy down to minus 15 but put them in one of our winters and if you don’t keep an eye on them you can lose them not from the cold but from being cold and wet. Our winter weather fluctuates between cold and crisp and warm and wet, so this is very difficult to cope with. Make sure if you have any pots out in the weather they are on blocks or feet so that the water can drain easily out of them. Any that do get water logged you need to either repot or empty all the water you can, check the holes in the bottom and raise the pot up to avoid losing the plant and the pot. It is worth having a wander round the garden after the rain at this time of year to spot where there is any water-logging occurring so that you can work organic matter and grit into the ground in the coming months to improve drainage and maybe choose something more resilient to plant there as you can only improve the situation but without a massive amount of work and effort you are unlikely to be able to change the situation completely. Happy Days in the Garden x

photo cortsey of Chetan via Pexels
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