The Idiot Gardener

WARNING: This site contains information on gardening, brewing, curing meat,

building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

feeble-minded, the weak and lame, those of a nervous disposition, vegans and

vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

The Riddle and the Plan

This morning, I started my day with a riddle in the garden. Londoners can chorttle at the schoolboy humour and the rest can read on, unaware that they were assaulted with toilet humour in the very first sentence!

I’ll be honest; I’ve not been a happy gardener in the last few days. The time has come to start propogating, and the beds are behind schedule! I was faced with a choice of two failures, one major and one minor.

The minor failure option was to buy in topsoil. I could fill the beds quickly and be ready to go. However, it would mean paying out for soil I already have, and Hill 49 would still stand, defiant in the face of my back-breaking toil. Okay, the soil would still be there in the future, but I think that the space will be needed for overspill planting!

The major failure option was to continue working on Hill 49, but accept that Bed 3 and Herb Bed 1 would not be ready for Spring. The process of taking the soil from Hill 49, removing all rootage, removing all stones and then putting it through a garden sieve the size of a Polo mint is slow. I mean it’s properly slow.

There had to be another way, a way to do the work properly but faster, and this riddle led to … a riddle! The above pictured item was knocked up first thing this morning. It took 30 minutes and cost £12 to make. I probably could have done it for less, but time wasn’t on my side so I just paid for the bits at the first asking. The mesh cost a whopping £6, but the end result is a significant advance in turnaround time on Hill 49.

Will I get there in the end? It’s tight, but I’m less pessimistic than I was!

Currently, the Master Plan looks like this:

BED 1:
Broad Beans, replaced with Winter Cabbage in summer
Perpetual Spinach
Turnip
Cavalo Nero
Chard
Swede intercropped with Bekana

BED 2:
Carrot
Celeriac intercropped with Spring Onions
Leek intercropped with Rocket
Mooli Radish intercropped with Lettuce
Parsnip
Salsify intercropped with Summer Radish

BED 3:
Ong Choy
Egg Plant
Lettuce
Rocket
Fennel
Land Cress

POTATO PLATERS:
Arran Pilot
Pink Fire Apple
Sante

SOMEHWERE IN THE GROUND:
Horse Radish
Jerusalem Artichokes

VARIOUS PLANTERS:
Watercress
Rat Tail Radish
Munchen Bier Radish
Black Krim Tomatoes
Red Cherry Tomatoes

HERB GARDEN:
Basil
Chervil
Chives
Corriander
Dill
Mint
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Saltwort
Samphire
Thyme

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12 thoughts on “The Riddle and the Plan

  1. Edith Hope

    Dear IG, For a self professed idiot, your ‘plan’ [to include secondary crops, etc.] appears to me to be very advanced. I had expected nothing beyond the potatoes with maybe the odd cabbage thrown in.

    Still, I do read in the national broadsheets that standards in education are rising all the time, so perhaps being an idiot today is not what it used to be.

    Reply
  2. Jo

    I think you’re very organised, already having your planting plan done. The riddle looks great, you’ll have Hill 49 dispersed into your beds in no time at all.

    Reply
  3. Kyna

    Before I read about all of your hard work and frustrating setbacks, I had to resort to Googling the supposed toilet humour in the first paragraph. I THINK I’ve got the gist 😀

    On to your hard work. Great innovation there! Sometimes it just takes a little imagination and money to make a tough job a little easier 😀
    Your list of veg and herbs is impressive! O_O I’m kind of intimidated! 😀

    Reply
  4. Tatyana@MySecretGarden

    You have a plan, a list and a tool. You might start a list of people you can share your vegetables and herbs with. Are you going to plant mint in a container? Mine spreads wildly, so I needed to dig it out and put in pots.

    Reply
  5. jeansgarden

    Another great post. (I didn’t get the scatological humor, but that’s okay — I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and I think I’ve already experienced my full quota of sophomoric humor!). My father used to screen soil in this way, and I’ve thought about making myself a similar device, but have just never gotten around to doing so.
    BTW, I’ve listed your delightful blog as one of my “Blog(s) of the Month.” Here’s a link to the post announcing my choices: http://jeansgarden.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/garden-blogs-of-the-month-february-2010-2/ -Jean

    Reply
  6. Is the Wiz

    Dear Idiot, your list is making me hungry.What’s bekana? Please don’t be in too much of a rush, there’s still plenty of time as later sowings get the benefit of longer, warmer days and soon catch up.I think you’re doing amazingly, Hill 49 is dwindling before our eyes.And FYI-it’s called going for a Jimmy up here, tho’ who Jimmy Riddle was I’ve no idea.
    p.s. Horse radish can make Hitler seem like a stay-at-home. Strict confinement please.

    Reply
  7. joey

    I’m impressed with your master plan, Idiot! Can I add oregano, parsley, cilantro, lavender and nasturtium (and perhaps borage) to your herb garden 🙂 Happy Gardening!

    Reply
  8. debsgarden

    You have a great plan; your garden will be worth all the work. I moved a hillside wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow once, so I know something of the enormity of the work you are doing. Carry on; that hill is shrinking!

    Reply
  9. Carol

    What a fabulous list of veggies and herbs! Perpetual spinach … I should love that! Saltwort and Samphire not commonly seen in most gardens. For a simpleton your list is quite impressive. Then again there is that thin line between the fool and genius. A protective camouflage no doubt. I could use a screen like that! Love the rustic wheelbarrow too. I look forward to seeing your progress. I imagine someone in your house is a good cook too! Delightful post!

    Reply
  10. Carol

    P.S. I was so taken by your list that I forgot your first sentence…. what is ‘toilet’ humor about riddle? you are speaking of your screen I gather?? Unless riddle and piddle are synonyms? You Brits are excellent humorist… do tell.

    Reply
  11. Moonstone Gardens

    Hi Idiot –
    I think you’re pretty smart. May I add another idea? Since you contemplated spending the money on topsoil, why not take some of that money and hire someone with a strong back to help you move your mountain and get your beds filled earlier?
    Cindee

    Reply
  12. The Idiot Gardener

    Edith, never confuse intentions with ability!

    Jo, the plan was created due to a mix of bad weather and the driving ambition of enthusiasm. I’d bet that next year it doesn’t get done so early!

    Kyna, the riddle has resulted in a barrow of cleaned and sieved soil being done in 15 minutes rather than an hour! It’s been the best thing I’ve done thus far!

    Tatyana, mint was the one thing I was going to ensure was in a container!

    Jean, you’re so kind. I don’t deserve it, really, I don’t! Mind you, good point about the continued narrative theme; I wish I’d had teachers with such useful advice!

    Is, to give it it’s full(ish) name its Tokyo Bekana. I recently bought some Ong Choy seeds, and realised that if I spent £20 the P&P charges were dropped. I added a bunch of herbs and some Thai Aubergine, but I was about £1 short, so I added the Bekana. It’s apparently a mustard-type salad leave, or can be stir-fried like Pak Choi.

    Joey, nasturtiums will be added, although they’ll just go in wherever I have space. The herb list is probably currently the most fluid, and in year 1 it will be in containers.

    Debs, it’s amazing how much soil is actually in a small hill. At first it looked insignificant; now I wonder if it’ll ever be flat ground!

    Carol, I went for Saltwort because I figured Samphire would be too faffy, but then I saw some Samphire seeds and the inner child screamed “Me want!”

    Moonstone, I doubt anyone would be willing to listen to my inane ramblings all day; I tend to get lost in strange thoughts as I work, and a spare set of ears would only be an invitation to vocalise it all!

    Reply

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