Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring fever list

The report: Lovely, sunny Sunday, sky blue, temperature brisk, a self-sown violet in the terrace gravel.

1. More potting and seed-starting soil needed: My seed order has arrived. The Cape gooseberries (Physalis) and sea rocket have been sown, but now for these new ones. And I must re-pot my strawberries, top up the roof farm containers and transplant my currant. And probably the fig. Bizarrely, the most PC mix is being sold by my corner deli, on Court Street. So much "the corner deli" that I have no idea what its name is. We buy cat litter there when we must, organic milk, if we have forgotten it, we use the ATM. Sometimes I pick up some cut flowers or a small bag of treat-chips. And now they stock bags Organic Mechanics soil. French arm are bringing the soil back for me. Something funny has happened to my one knee and I'm giving it a break from loads.

2. Chicken wire. Will Tony's Hardware have it? This spring I will cover the newly-seeded pots against That Squirrel.

3. I might buy some more pots. For the farm.

4. It seems forever since I roasted a chicken. So I need a chicken, and nice leaves to go with it. Watercress appeals.

5. What does GRDN have in stock? Perhaps I'll just have a look. In case. It's really too early. But you never know.

6. There are the photos to process from the wonderfully empty low-tide beach and limpid sea at the Far Rockaways yesterday.

7. Domestica: The bathroom has been cleaned. Vince vacuumed. The bed is made. Maybe I'll clean the downstairs hallway. Maybe I'll take up a collection for plants for our building's front steps. Will an envelope glued to the inside of the front door be filled with honour-system $5 notes? I wonder.

On the South African domestic front, my mom had a lunch under the tree for 13 today, and cooked for three days in preparation. She makes my lunches look spartan. My dad took part in The Argus Cycle Tour (here he is with Viince in 2010), but cut it short to be home in time for lunch (about which he had forgotten). He and his group of 500 were let out of the starting gates at 7.40am (over 35,000 cyclists are released in groups of 500 every three minutes, to the second), and he rode a mere 63km in his 80th year, coming home from Simonstown over Red Hill and the back of Ou Kaapse Weg, which, to me, sounds worse than the real thing. He was home when he said he would be, at 10.50am.

And now, to work.


  1. Look at the "wire mesh" at the hardware store - the 1/2-inch-square screening (which people put under their bunny cages, incidentally) - instead of chicken wire, which is pretty wussy. It can be chewed open by squirrels, and it's hard to make it look attractive. The rolled-up mesh is not very flexible, but you can make handsome stiff cylinders out of it with round tops made of the same mesh that's been traced around, say, a frisbee then cut out and either sewed on with wire or zip-tied. I've thought about attaching curved twig handles to the tops of mine, so I can lift the cover and say Viola! before I harvest my cabbage-moth-free kale...

    1. Great tip. I was just wondering how to keep critters out this year. Thanks.

  2. Kudos to your dad. Biking will keep him young forever.

    Wish my garden were half as "done" as yours.

  3. The rhythm of biking can keep the blues away. Still thinking of Ben.

  4. I am new to your blog and loving it. I found it via M.S. Living (a magazine I rarely read actually) but happy I did in this instance. My husband was from S.A. and so I love reading about that part of your life as well.. fond memories.

  5. saw the article in Martha about you and think that your garden is simply amazing. I live in downtown New Haven w/ my amazing husband and the love of my life, my 4 year old son Henry. I am a catering manager at Yale University and I have a new amazingly small city yard that I will garden in this spring/summer. We just recently moved downtown from the burbs of New Haven...any thougths of easy to grow items...I want to tell you that I think your space is beautiful and I can only hope to grow half the beauty with my lil man! Erin Barba

  6. Kudos to Henri as always! It makes me wish I'd been there on a bike with him, even though I swore I would never do it again. ;-)

  7. Erin - I lived in New Haven for a couple of years :-) First figure out whether you have sun or shade or both. And how many hours of direct sun. That will determine what plants you buy. Also your USDA hardiness zone. Then, when you go to a nursery, you can match plants with your zone and your exposure. There is so much you can grow - a good nursery can help guide you.


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