After a few days of my seedlings being outside away from my watchful eye, I begin to relax as they are doing simply fine without me checking on them every hour! This, however, has not discouraged me from grabbing a ruler and my mustard coloured, scruffy notepad (that I had kept for so long, as I knew its destiny would come - it’s time is now. My gardening journal) to jot down: how the seedlings grow outside each week, notes on which seedlings like what light and who drinks the most water?
Admittedly this is sounding like an obsession…
Waking up early I walk towards my little veggie patch and seedlings. As the day is scheduled to be warm and I want to make sure my little plants have enough water to get them through any harsh sunlight. Why is it so cold? I can see my breath and the steam dancing of the dogs back as he runs around at 5.30am. Oh no I did not cover my seedlings last night and now they stand before me covered in a dusting of unexpected frost!
This is devastating, I mean, I knew gardening wasn’t going to be a smooth journey without its challenges but to lose more than half the crop in one night does leave me standing here cradling the wilted leaves of my tomato plants wondering what I do with the plants now. Can I bring them back? I need to find out what I do next, so I put them all in the little greenhouse and hope to come back later with answers!
The frustration is also a realisation that I do care about growing my own produce and that it has been rather therapeutic in these unpredicted times. Not losing hope, I walk around to see my potted broccoli, I give a sigh of relief they don’t seem to have been too fazed by the surprise frost. But -
The gardening Gods are not on my side today! I mean, seriously, my young broccoli looks like it has been a midnight snack for the beasts that become active in the moonlight. Little circular teeth marks on the odd leaf. I must prevent this, a couple more nights of these hungry creatures and these seedlings could soon also be gone! Think organically. Obviously, I don’t want to put any toxic chemicals and pesticides down. My first thought; find the culprit. Perhaps it is hiding in the soil or on the bottom of the pots. I highly suspect a slug or two, or five. I root around the seedlings, examining each pot, I use a small twig to gently poke at the soil just in case anything creepy crawls this way! Well, well, well, what do I have here? A very mini beast! Cuter than a slug, but still little fella I must evict you from my veggie patch. It is a small snail sneaking towards the edge of the pot as the sunlight becomes brighter.
I pick up the snail. I don’t have the heart to crush it, instead, I let nature decide the future of this little guy. I drop him in some long foliage in a ‘wild garden’ that I have started, to encourage more wildlife into my plot. The garden gods hold your destiny now little fella, perhaps you will grow big and wise (for staying off my veggies) or you may be a delicious snack for the magnificent birds that have become more plentiful in the garden.
Finally, I finish my stroll around the garden, to the cherry tree that has lost its blossom and it looks like fruit is going to be on the horizon this year! I lift a leaf to get a closer look at the potential cherry. EEEEEEEK! Frightening little black bugs! Hundreds of them. It looks as if they are sucking the life from the tree leaves! I start pulling off the heavily covered leaves in panic! I stop for a second, there, before my eyes, the knights of the garden appear! Who would have thought it ladybirds? I come across my first one, taking to breakfast on these bugs, aphids perhaps? I explore further, brushing through the leaves and seeing an entire ladybird army feasting on the cherry tree imposters. I can relax it looks like the ladybird army has it under control.
Although this last hour in the garden has been what can only be described as disappointing, it hasn’t made me give up. This is not the end. With some more knowledge on preventing frostbite and pest prevention, I think I will stand a better chance next time. Funny how one night of being unprepared can have a dramatic effect. Like the ladybird army, I will patrol the garden protecting it from the frightful beasts and the trickster that is Jack Frost.
This for me is still the beginning of my organic gardening quest, but the end of this blog series. I hope you have enjoyed walking with me through the first few milestones and are confident in your own abilities to continue your organic journey.
More about Julie...
Julie Walton-Evans is our new Marketing Officer here at Garden Organic, her background is from a line of work in various charity sectors. She enjoys nature and travel has been a huge part of her life. Julie is still very new to the organic scene. She lives in Coventry with her partner and has a garden of their own and with the inspiration taken from her father as a writer as well as the passionate culture of Garden Organic, she thinks there is no better time to start to grow and share her story with you.
Click here for a full list of our Organic Gardening Blogs. There's something to interest everyone, from frugal gardening, wildlife and starting out, to wellbeing and allotment growing. Each series is written by a member of our staff, touching on their own personal experiences. We hope you enjoy reading.