I can’t be the only untidy, slightly disorganised and clumsy gardener out there, can I? Here are just a few musings and tips you probably won’t read in a gardening book.
Occasionally, I end up at the plot with no receptacle in which to put the few raspberries I’ve spotted. I recommend not putting them in your coat pocket thinking they’ll be ok until you get home. Firstly, if you’re like me, you’ll forget and only realise once you’ve squished them or secondly, you’ll forget completely, only to discover them, several weeks later, as you produce your purse at the shop as a mouldy mess congealed in the bottom of your pocket.
I’ve discovered it’s not a good idea to put on your wellies on a hot day without any socks. The combination of hot rubber and sweaty feet creates a strange sticking action which makes it nearly impossible to remove them. Cue hopping about, straining and yanking until they finally come off with a squelching noise and the feeling that you’ve left behind a layer of skin.
Never pick up a slug with bare hands. Their slime has powers of stickiness, as yet, untapped by science. You’ll wash your hands and think they’re clean but, oh no, that goo has staying power.
Don’t forget to open your cold frame on a hot and sunny day when your shallots are drying inside it. I did, last summer, and the onion aroma that greeted me at the front door was the smell of my shallots, literally, cooking under the glass.
Standing on a rake doesn’t just happen in comic strips and silent movies. And yes, it does hurt. Particularly if you’re the same height as the rake and it smacks you right on the face.
Don’t call in at the allotment on the way back from somewhere, in smart clothes, thinking, ‘I’ll just pick something up for tea’. You won’t. There’ll be the weeds you spot that need pulling out, sweet peas that need tying in and before you know it you’re covered in mud and are those blackberry stains on your sleeve?
The time you think you’ll spend on the plot, at any given time, is always a massive under-estimation of the time you’ll actually spend there. I either need to become more disciplined or adjust other commitments accordingly, so that people aren’t greeted by a slightly frazzled, dishevelled and soil encrusted individual shoving a basket of vegetables at them as I disappear off, desperate for the loo.
No matter how well I plan for a visit to the plot, with lists and post-it notes I will always forget to take something vital with me. With no shed for storage there, I increasingly look like a pack mule with my bucket for cut flowers, my trug for vegetables and a collection of containers for the harvest of various soft fruits. A bag with suncream, sun hat, raincoat, hat, scarf (delete depending on weather), tissues, my mobile, gardening gloves and the various tools such as trowel, snips, plant labels, pencil and twine that I don’t leave up there. Add in a camera for some quick shots and the liquid seaweed, possibly some fleece or netting. Well you get the picture.
Maybe it’s just me. I do hope not.
I admit it, I do most of these things too; OK so I’m not at an allotment but it can still be anoying to begin a job at the other end of the garden only to find I am without the critical piece of equipment. Christina
My allotment is a ten minute walk away, so not far but far enough to not want to spend the day going backwards and forwards because I’ve forgotten something. I just need to be more organised. I didn’t think there would be any flowers to pick when I went yesterday but there were so I’ll have to go up after my lunch. WW
You’re right about these tips not being in the gardening books.
It’s most definitely not just you as I have done most of these things as well. I’m always forgetting to take something with me.
I do have a shed, albeit a sentry box, so try to keep some bags and containers in it. At this time of year I take a builder’s bucket to and from the plot which makes carrying potatoes, etc. easier. xx
Flighty, It’s good to know it’s not just me. I use to take up a trug but it was used to rescue some seaweed fertiliser from my flooded shed floor and now stinks, so I’d rather not use it for food now!
The Sarah Raven Team said:
Brilliant tips! And such beautiful violas 🙂
Thanks. I was cutting the violas back and it seemed such a waste to put them on the compost heap.
Amanda Peters said:
No, it’s not just you…….
The10MinuteGardener (@10MinGardener) said:
Great tips I think most gardening books would be improved if they actually had tips about real life. I find leaving seeds in pockets which then germinate a real pain
Gardening books can be a little too perfect sometimes. I’m often finding unknown seeds in various places but I’ve as yet had them germinate anywhere other than compost! 🙂
Amanda, That’s a relief. 😉
I think we all forget things, some of us more than others! At least with us , it isn’t too far to go to the shed to collect what we have forgotten. Can I add, don’t slip your husbands wellies on just to nip into the garden, that’s the way to have a crashing fall because of the extra length. The result was 2 huge black eyes and a smashed shoulder which has needed physio, a scan, a visit to a shoulder specialist and probably an operation, should have gone and got my wellies from their bag, but his were just by the back door !
Oh Pauline, that sounds awful. It’s so easy to do things like that when you’re in a hurry. I haven’t put hubby’s wellies on but I have put his flip-floppy shoes on, to go to the compost heap and nearly come a cropper. As my dad would say ‘less haste, more speed’.
Definitely not just you. All sounds very familiar…
Hi Glenda, It’s good to know. 🙂
Su (TinyAcorns) said:
No, it’s not just you! When I had my allotment I’d often end up calling in quickly in work clothes and getting messy – and as for fruit and veg in the pockets, I won’t even go there!
Hi Su, It’s funny to hear other people’s stories, makes me feel much better ;).
No, it’s not just you. I have the same problem with my wellies and bare feet in summer.
Hi Denise, I would wear other shoes but I’m plagued by insects biting my legs so the wellies provide the protection to my legs from any little critters hiding in the grass. and I just seem to forget to get some socks.
I say all the time I’m missing the real story by not putting up a video camera and filming the antics in the garden. Also don’t tuck an egg or two in your pocket from the coop and think you will remember them when you get back to the house!
Hi Stacey, Fortunately we haven’t got any chickens as I’m sure the potential for more mishaps would be so much greater. It can’t be fun when you realise you’ve squished the eggs ;).
Donna@Gardens Eye View said:
I must say I thought I was the clumsiest gardener always turning an ankle or tripping over a vine…constantly forgetting tools that I need or losing them…love this post!
Hi Donna, Thank you. It’s good to know we’re not alone ;).
yes to all of that especially always forgetting a container for soft fruit.
Love the viola–less is more in my opinion when picking flowers for the house.
Your post has seen me nodding my head and smiling – I’ve been there too – perhaps we should form a club. Have the shed but not the car so getting to/fro the plot can be a challenge. I’m still waiting to discover the perfect allotment bag where you can stash unexpected finds without them suffering. Meanwhile my latest incident was only yesterday, when I went to the allotment in good clothes -did not want to spend long there so you can understand the logic.On my way into the community greenhouse I got caught up with a protuding nail which pierced a hole in my relatively new blouse 😦
David Marsden said:
Quite a bit of my day is spent walking from wherever I happen to be working all the way back to the workshop to pick up some tool or whatever that I definitely had with me when I first set out. (Repeat process several times over). That ‘Shropshire Lad’ photo is lovely. D
I just discovered the bare feet in wellies problem today, I should have read this earlier. Who knew feet could sweat so much! I ended up back in my sandals and getting lots of soil between my toes instead. Also, always forgetting vital things including containers for soft fruit. Have resorted to plastic flowerpots on many occasions.
Stephen Studd Photography said:
So many times forgotten container for picking fruit, leads to ingenious ways around it, making a parcel from rhubarb leaves a fave !
I like the idea of the rhubarb leaves. I’ll remember that for the future.
Simon Green said:
Brilliant, hilarious post – mainly because I have made all of these mistakes and more! Along the lines of your “I’ll just pop to the allotment” point, I have repeatedly burned dinner after “just going to grab some herbs” from outside the back door, and spent 15 minutes weeding instead…
See, that’s exactly the sort of thing I’d do. I so often get distracted and forget time when I’m in the garden or on the plot. I only went up for some chard today. An hour later I’d salvaged broccoli from some caterpillars, picked some flowers, weeded and harvested some raspberries.
Jennifer Ross said:
I’ve only tried the bare feet in wellies once and it was nothing short of agony to get them off. I sat on the back step used both hands to pull the boot and made every grimace it was possible to pull. Eventually after much grunting and groaning I got them off.
Hi Jennifer, :)) There’s that point where suction has taken place and you wonder if you’re ever going to get them off without leaving behind a layer of skin.