As you may have caught on, I’m running well behind with the plot this year. I can’t really complain, it’s my own fault. I agreed to write the books and I can hardly claim I didn’t know what was involved. Plus books don’t make you a huge amount of money, unless you’re a top seller like J K Rowling, so you still need a day job.
Anyway, being so far behind, I decided the only way to catch up was to buy some plants in. So a tour around the nurseries to stock up followed. Val came along to get some flowery things for the garden as well.
First stop was Wilkinsons who have jumped on the vegetable growing bandwagon. They’d actually got some reasonable plants, which surprised me. So a pack of plug lettuce and a courgette went into basket. They’d had some reasonable tomato plants when Val went in earlier in the week but they’d sold out.
I picked up a bottle of glyphosate as well. Their own brand works out as a much better deal than buying Roundup. A pack of half a dozen sweet peppers for a couple of pounds went into the basket as well.
Next was B&Q. I really can’t say I was impressed by what was on offer in the vegetable range and Val couldn’t find a pack of Salvia where half the pack wasn’t dead already. So we picked up some bags of pea gravel for the garden and moved on to Taylors.
Taylors are excellent for gardening sundries. Everything from fertiliser and compost to spades and pots. Their tomato plants weren’t too exciting and at £1.35 a plant didn’t strike me as good value.
Up to a couple of little nurseries where there were yet more offerings of tomatoes at the £1.35 mark. Now I’m beginning to sense a pattern, vegetable growing is the boom at the moment and they’re making hay whilst the sun shines.
What I did find really disappointing was the varieties on offer. Gardener’s Delight is not a bad tomato but Moneymaker is, for my money, the most tasteless boring tomato available. I suppose it’s a ‘known name’ so that’s why they sell them but really, don’t waste your time and money on Moneymaker.
Finally up to Stapely Water Gardens. Now these are a super garden centre complex rather than a nursery. Everything from sheds and conservatories to crafts and clothes. Amazingly they had a wide selection of good quality tomato plants at 99p. So loaded up with 2 Sungold, 3 Ailsa Craig, 4 Plum Roma and a couple of tumbler tomatoes for the garden.
Then I picked up a pack of 10 red cabbage, 10 savoy cabbage and 10 cauliflowers at £1.98 each, so at least I’ve got some brassicas going.
When you compare the cost of seeds with plants, you really do pay through the nose. Having said that, for most of us, 10 cauliflowers is enough and the price of the pack of plants is less than that of some packs of seeds. Well, however you do the figures, at least I’ve caught up on some plants, and 20p a cauliflower isn’t really going to break the bank.
Back home and the tomatoes got potted on straight away. I think they’re using a peat-free compost and they do seem to dry out quickly. The Humax is far better at retaining water and not turning into a solid lump if you miss a day’s watering.
OK, I appreciate the environmental argument against using peat but the Irish still have peat power stations. What’s worse, burning peat for electricity or using peat in compost to grow food and eventually returning the peat to improve the soil?