As we reach the Spring Equinox the garden is looking glorious. Blue tits are flirting and feeding amongst the line of birth trees next to my patio. The birch trees themselves are covered in silvery buds, soft as satin. Crocuses and daffodils are flowering in the pots. Further afield in the garden, the cherry tree is garlanded with an abundance of creamy blossom, tinged with pink. Clumps of snowdrops hang their virgin white heads whilst primroses shine like golden pennies. The chorus of birdsong at dusk and dawn is swelling. The days are getting longer, but it’s still possible to see the moon in the early evening sky as the sun sets. This is probably my favourite time of year.
Since my last blog post on permaculture, Use minimum effort for maximum effect, I’ve studied a short, self-paced course with the British permaculture association. Entitled Growing food in small spaces, it takes you through the process of designing a permaculture growing space with an emphasis on small spaces and food growing.
I’ve also decided to call my patio garden project The Good Life, after the BBC sitcom starring Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers. Broadcast in the 1970s, the BAFTA award winning television series tells the story of a couple named Good, who leave the rat race in order to turn their suburban home into a vision of self sufficiency.
So far I’ve planted lettuce, rocket, spinach, radishes, spring onions and Swiss chard. The seeds were sourced from our local nursery, Rougham Hall Nurseries. I planted them in small containers until they grow bigger as you can see. I’m currently storing them in the greenhouse until they’re more sturdy and the risk of frost is over.
I just love seeds. I like to compare them with nature’s version of nanotechnology. Tiny but packed full of mystical, magical DNA and RNA coding which transforms them into lush plants. I love the variety of the seeds appearance too. You tend to think of seeds as being fairly uniform in appearance, (or at least I used to), but in reality they’re very varied. The Swiss chard seeds look almost like tiny pine cones! The radish seeds are red whilst the spinach seeds are green.
Growing food in small spaces contained some brilliant DIY recycling hacks. These included using toilet rolls as seedling pots. Another was cutting up old yogurt pots to make into markers (pictured below.)