Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Poking their heads up

I lurve this time of year, the seeds that I've collected from a variety of sources are gradually being sown - and are germinating. The sight of them poking their heads up never ceases to raise my spirits, the fact that from these small dry brown wrinkly things can with the addition of a little water, some light and a bit of warmth miraculously send up little green shoots of life amazes me every year.
For me the thrill of gardening has always been propagation, not the end result - a lot of the stuff I grew on my allotments back home I never liked anyway and gave away - it is just the growing that does it for me. Today tiny petunias, bigger tagetes and some almost shy chilli's appeared overnight in the heated propagator newly installed in the spare room (much to OH's resigned disapproval!!!).
I've been to check on them about four times today - just cos it's a damn sight more fun than doing my Greek homework.(which before anybody nags - I have now finished !!)
The concrete out the back is now nearly all lifted and has been moved to around the side, until I can find somewhere to take it - there appears to be a dearth of tips here in Cyprus - lay byes seem to be the places to take your unwanted fridges, cars and no doubt lumps of concrete.
I've built a couple of raised beds and filled them with very well rotted horse manure, and tried to dig it into the soil that's already there. Unfortunately there is about 4 inches of soil in most places then a layey of chalk, so today I have invested in a pit yakka type thing (like a small pick axe) with which to attempt to break through at least some of it. What worries me though isn't the chalk - I can live with that and just keep raising the beds - it's the complete lack of worms - I've seen about 4 since I got here, there isn't even any in the manure. Where are they ???
Anyway best go - Greek numbers are calling - ena, thio, tria, tessera etc etc

Monday, 29 January 2007

Back to the beginning

In this flush of new found enthusiasm for this blogging malarky, I'd like to take you back to the beginning, well not actually the beginning but you know what I mean. The house I live in has no real garden so to speak, it has a rear yard with small borders around the outside, planted up with a citrus tree of some orangey persuasion, a once rampant bourgainvillea - now pruned to within an inch of it's life, boy are they spikey and a plumbago. As this is where we are likely to be spending a fair proportion of the year outside eating (and drinking) is going to be full of flowers

On the other side of the house was a concreted area and some wasteland, I plan on getting rid of the concrete and "nicking" as much of the land as I can possibly get away with - this bit is going to be a mixture of all sorts, chilli's, aubergines, tomatoes and herbs are to be planted with sweetpeas, beans, sunflowers and whatever else I can get to grow in there.

Things that are easy to come by back in the UK are a tad more difficult here, couldn't find any seeds trays, so margerine pots and containers from our all too frequent takeaways are being re-cycled, an SOS was sent and answered by friends back home for seeds and plant labels. So since November I've been sowing, pricking out and maybe gloating just a bit to said friends about how much earlier I could get things in !!!
Courtesy of Amazon a seedhouse house (you know one of them plastic mini greenhousey things) and a heated propagator have arrived and are now stuffed full of tomatoes, chillis, lavendars, pelargoniums, tagetes, calendula, datura, and some more stuff that I can't actually remember without going to have a look.
Right off to sow some aubergines, I'll be back at some unspecified point in the future depending on how long I manage to maintain this level of enthusiasm......

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Well Off we go

I've been meaning to do this for ages (well the last three months since I got here), and by here I mean Cyprus.
So just to rewind, I'm a Civil servant posted to live and work in Cyprus for the next 3 years. The downsides to coming here were giving up my season ticket at St James' Park (although perhaps not such a hardship this season), and my beloved allotments.
The blog is an to attempt to chronicle (when I remember) my attempts to turn the wasteland outside my house into something resembling a garden.......so off we go.