Sunday, 11th July, 2021

[Day 482]

My day started in the middle of the night, really, when I had a little sleepless patch and had wondered what to do with my little patch of 3′ x. 2.5′ when I decided to sow some beet seeds in it as beet is one of the few vegetables that you can sow as late as mid-July and still have time to get a crop by October/November. I really needed to acquire a packet of beet seeds but in the meantime, I reached for my hardback notebook in which I record all my gardening and planting activities. Too my surprise, a packet of more-or-less in date beet seeds dropped out of the notebook (and what it was doing in there for the first place?) so I set about an old gardening trick that I know. Beet seed are actually a cluster of seeds with an incredibly hard husk so they can take some time to germinate. The trick is to ‘scarify’ the seeds – this means rubbing them in between sheets of sandpaper to make the seeds a little more porous. You then soak them in warm water for a period of 8-10 hours (too little and the water has not had time to do the softening, too much and the seed starts to degrade) Then I discovered another packet of beet seeds in the location in the garage where we keep our spare seeds and I scarified them as well and calculated that the needed to be sown at about 3.00pm this afternoon. Whilst I was at it, I know of a location where there is an overhanging laburnum tree and I have it in mind to ‘liberate’ some of the seeds when I am by myself (probably first thing on a Sunday morning). I had in mind to take a little pair of scissors with me to snip off some of the seeds I can see forming but when I did a bit of further reading, it seems that the best time to sow laburnum seeds is September/October. So I think I will wait a month or so before I start on the particular venture. I did happen to have a jam jar with some of our own acorns in it (from an oak tree bought with us from Hampshire when we lived there and from an acorn actual collected in the New Forest) As you might have gathered by now, I quite like the concept of growing a tree from seed (or, at least, an incredibly young cutting) and although they will not come to fruition until the point of time when I am pushing up daisies, I quite like the sight of them developing from a seed to a viable plant. As it was a Sunday morning, I walk down on my own to collect the newspapers and treated myself to a fragment of J.S.Bach’s B-minor Mass and a later excerpt was a cantata from Matthew Passion so, as always, I enjoyed myself. Them we watched the Andrew Marr show but I must confess to dozing through some of it.

In the park, we met with our University of Birmingham friend and were soon joined by another regular with whom we have quite philosophical discussions. I had to make a confession that in the past few days when I referred to Fermi’s last theorem, I was actually in error – it should have bee Fermat’s last theorem (and Fermat is not to be confused with Fermi, the Italian physicist). We evidently turned to a discussion of football and the various ways in which England might either win or lose the game, the role of the referee, of the VAR system and so on. Then we left for lunch as I knew I was going to have a fairly busy afternoon.

My jobs this afternoon were essentially quite simple. The first was to get my beet seeds sown in the 8′-9′ of space that I had allocated to them. This task seemed to go OK – I had previously spread ‘Fish Blood and Bone’ organic fertiliser and worked it into the tilth so now, we shall just have to see how many days it will take for my own seeds to germinate. If I am lucky, I might some evidence of germination within about 3-4 days – if, of course, I am unlucky I might get a complete plot of failures (it happens sometimes in gardening) Then I needed to take all of the clutter out of the mini greenhouse which was lying in tatters. I got the various contents and associated garden implements and utilities spread out on the lawn, deconstructed the old greenhouse and got it disposed off (apart from some metal bits) and constructed the new one which is just a tad deeper than the previous one (which may or not be critical by the time I start to put some germinating seeds with in it) Then my luck changed and it started gentle raining. So I had to race around, doing a rapid ‘keep it or junk it’ before I came home to prepare for tea, write this blog and get ready for the Euro Cup final this evening.