Coucou mes amis! Welcome to the second installment of my attempts not to kill plants after prolonged periods of torture and abuse. Despite my best intentions all hopes of a strong beginning were dashed after a willfully disobedient avocado youth decided to start withering on me only a few days after my decision to ‘turn over a new leaf’ (ha!). I had hoped to have made better progress this month, but I honestly do not believe that any progress has been made at all yet.
Until I decided to turn our dining table into a toddler fort (using a pair of old curtains and all the cushions that my chou could carry) most of my plants were crammed together at the end of our dining table, trying to catch any available sunlight. Ours is a dark and shadowy house at the best of times, but is particularly sombre during the winter months. The poor plants have now taken up residence wherever I can find room for them, and take turns, on a rotating basis, to bask in a tiny corner of sunlight, next to the kitchen sink, that battles against the gloom for a couple of hours each day during the late afternoon. That is until the sun cruelly decided to abandon Europe a few weeks ago (it was -11ºc at half past seven this morning). This and an identical window directly above it, but which is at plant-endangering cat level, are the main sources of natural sunlight in our home. The house faces West, but nearly all of the evening sunshine is blocked out by an L-shaped overhang. There is no south-facing window in the house yet – our mason promised faithfully to come and knock three massive holes in our south-facing wall this month, to continue our sitting room project, but March makes its appearance tomorrow and he hasn’t arrived yet.
I read, whilst planting three new fruit trees (on the eve of snow back in early December) that the wind blowing against the trunks helps to strengthen and thicken them, so, in an experimental attempt to give the indoor plants a boost, I have been sporadically blowing on them, to see if their general unkempt and straggly appearances see any improvement. A fan (used, even in this arctic weather, to encourage warm air from the fire to circulate around the glacial house) has recently been moved to a new spot, fairly close to the majority of the plants, which may possibly prove beneficial to them, if the plants do not freeze to death first.
Now that Spring is fast approaching (in theory) we have been racing against the clock, en famille, to create a potager, as recorded in my 30 before 30 Challenge, to try our hands at growing vegetables (precisely which ones is still to be decided). Finding tools is the first challenge which awaits us when we venture out to do some digging, and one that provides hours of unceasing entertainment. Trowels, in particular, hide all over the garden, in locations chosen by the toddler – both designedly and accidentally. Keeping possession of these tools, once found, is an entirely different challenge altogether. My chou has his own trowel and his own wheelbarrow. Yet will he play with them whilst we ‘play’ with ours? Of course not. He insists on sharing ours, which makes for slow progress. On Sunday afternoon I had five workers with me, all sharing the same tiny space – one son and three coos squashing into the bed with me, and one duck acting as land agent and supervising the whole endeavour from the bank above. It was a very happy, if slightly frustrating, afternoon, and we are now a whole quarter of the way through the task.
Until the temperatures rise and the ground thaws, however, I must content myself with monitoring the indoor plants for the present…
After discovering (too late) that the internet houses more than one school of thought relating to gardening expertise, and that all the advice that I had trustingly read and acted upon was contradicted the day after, I yielded to my impatient impulses and repotted my avocat in unsoiled soil. My son’s faith in my abilities clearly hesitant, he kindly decided to make sure for himself that it had been planted securely. It turns out that it had not. It has subsequently been re-repotted. The surprising result from all this meddling is that the plant is, somehow, still alive. All the original leaves may have died, but thankfully new ones have grown above them and seem to be temporarily thriving. I am even happier now that a second avocado pit, discarded in a pot several months ago, is just about to sprout. (I am slowly future-proofing all my avocado requirements – in only fifteen years, if both plants have been spared, I might never need to buy an overripe avocado again…think of the savings!)
The two tiny lemon plants are pretty much exactly as they were last month. I think they may be hibernating.
Up until a week ago there was no change in either pomegranate plant. One has now died. I blame the eternal darkness and its proximity to the fan. It definitely was not killed by overwatering…probably.
The chilli plants have neither grown nor died. One Firecracker seed has sprouted at last, given me five seedlings in total.
Mots du jour:
Coucou! – Informal greeting, and often used when talking to young children. The equivalent to an anglophone saying ‘Hiya!’ (Also a cuckoo) en famille – as a family potager – vegetable patch/garden avocat – avocado/lawyer