Well, there has been at least one benefit of the constant, constant rain – the seeds from my random seed experiment have come up. I call it an experiment… in part, it was completely random, I used seeds that I had had hanging around for years that my mum had got free with gardening magazines. I paid no attention to when they should be planted or how close together – I just sprinkled.
Secretly though, in my head, I had some aims. I want to create a ground cover mix that is edible and – if not perennial, then at least self-seeding. I wanted to see what came up first, what grew the fastest, what would like that area the best. I planted Linum (Dazzler), Chard (Bright Lights), Rocket (Sky Rocket), French Marigold (Red Brocade), Nicotiana Affinis, some kind of nasturtium, Calendula, Portulaca (Sunshine Mixed), Love-in-a-mist (Summer mixed) and one lonely sunflower seed. So far I have seen evidence of the chard, rocket, nicotiana and nasturtium. It’s entirely possible that I’ve missed some of the other seedlings in the melee – I don’t really know what Love-in-a-mist seedlings look like.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the rocket seedlings came up first. Rocket is brilliant! It’s fast-growing, snails don’t seem to care very much about it, tasty and bloody expensive. The nasturtiums weren’t far behind and the chard chased them. The chard seedlings are perhaps a bit leggy from having to strive against the other plants for light, but we will see what happens. If they don’t make it, I won’t be too sad as I don’t like chard all that much. I am trying a kind of chard exposure therapy though, as I think that it will be a very useful vegetable after the apocalypse ;-) They’re quite a pretty variety though, so even if we don’t end up eating them, they’ll make the base of the tree look bright and attractive – which is a key part of the design.
In the other spot which I seeded – between two bushes – the seedlings got to a certain point and promptly keeled over. I think they just don’t have enough light – that spot is completely barren of life. A rethink for this area is needed…
The process of intimate observation is fascinating though. I have never looked so closely at the things that I have grown before, and this has led to not really knowing why things are going right or wrong which has led to more failure than is strictly necessary. I also think that spending such a long time observing and learning about wild plants has really given me a lot more insight into what it is the damn things want when you’re trying to grow them at home