Green and Thrifty

This week I have been chitting potatoes. Chitting is the best garden job for the lazy gardener. It just means letting your root vegetables sprout out of their tiny eyes before planting, so involves no actual work at all other than taking the seed potatoes out of their string bag and laying them out in a tray in a place that has light but not full sun. Taking them out of their bag is important, because they will still sprout if you leave them in the bag, and the delicate sprouts will break off as you pull them out of the netting bag.. ask me how I know..

I have planted the first seeds of the year, some of which are quite old seeds from the bottom of my seed basket. The only ones which have sprouted so far are the ones I bought this last autumn. Most seeds grow best if they are reasonably fresh, which is why seed swapping parties are the best. I am determined to use up all of my old seed this year so I can buy new with a clear conscience. I also saved a lot of seed last year, which I will either plant or share. Seeds are not resources you can hoard. Seeds have to be grown and saved again in order to keep them viable.

As I was driving a child (forget which one) on some no doubt vital excursion this week I spied a rather large firewood log abandoned in the gutter, so I pulled over and loaded it into the boot of the car, child sinking down in the passenger seat and moaning, "Muuuum, do you have to?" Well, yes, my darling, I do - as a member of the Wombling club it is my duty to be making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind..

My friend Monique and I swapped some of the many self-seeded goodies popping up in our gardens. I took her love-in-a-mist and violas and she gave me lettuce, kale and parsley. I love sharing plants. Plants are so wonderfully, generously prolific. With a little patience and the kindness of other gardeners, most plants are not something that need be part of the money economy. In autumn I gave away dozens of jonquil bulbs that have been quietly multiplying in my wild garden for decades, and this year there will be dozens more to share. They are growing so thickly they have stopped flowering, but given a year and enough space they will continue growing in other gardens for decades more. Nature isn't going to stop growing plants and we may as well make the most of it and share the bounty around. It astonishes me just how extraordinarily fertile an average plant is, given a little encouragement..

I have been enjoying some low key thrifty adventures in the garden this week, how about you?

PS In other news, the article I wrote for Earth Garden was bumped from the spring to the summer edition. I will have to wait another three months to see my name in print :( But it will happen!


Treaders said…
Just got in from "putting the garden to bed" - well an hour's work chopping stuff back and pulling up tomato plants really. Had a terrible garden this year, except for broccoli. Oh well, next year maybe. And then the bliss of the colder weather meant I cooked a "freebie" bottom of the fridge soup. Some potatoes that were about to wrinkle up, mangy looking tomatoes and pumpkin from the garden last year. Delicious. People here are already talking about "the snow line" so I guess I should enjoy it will I can. Anna
Jo said…
Anna, here in Tas we generally have a good tomato year, or a good brassica year, depending on weather. Clearly you leaned towards the brassica year. Lucky you planted broccoli. Good home grown broccoli is a wondrous thing.
I love 'bottom of the fridge' soup, too! I especially love it when it lasts for several days and no extra cooking is required!
Unknown said…
Hello from France!! I had love in a mist on my garden. So delicate looking. The plants weee swamped by others.

Looking forward to seeing photos of your potatoes in full growth.

(Changed the way I comment on blogger by creating a google account as blogger is being bloody minded again!)
Jo said…
Lucinda, hellooo over there in France. Wordpress has been happily deleting my comments on various blogs as well. Perhaps the bosses of both are having a fight this week??
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Top work! I too started the summer vegetable seeds. Love in a mist plants are a true garden delight, but I can't shake the feeling that they were planted by aliens because of they way they look.

There used to be a local seed savers group here which disbanded because they failed to agree upon the purpose of the group. I watched this group fall apart due to infighting. Anyway, they provided me with a huge variety of locally adapted vegetables and for that I am eternally grateful. I'll do something along those lines in the future, but the economy is still too strong for people to take the care and time required. Until then...

Jo said…
Chris, it boggles my mind that a seed savers group could not decide what the purpose of the group was.. isn't it in the name?? Locally adapted vegies are the best, and good for you for keeping them in rotation at your place until others wake up to their importance in the scheme of things..

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