Spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s Party!” ~ Robin Williams
I have finally put an end to weeks of nose-in-catalog antisocial behaviour and ordered my spring garden seeds. Spring is only a few short weeks away, but given the lovely weather we have been having, I’m hoping to start early.
Last year, I planted a bit too late and our summer arrived early, gobbling up all my tender emerging plants. The rest of the season was a bit of a shambles as most of my harvest hopes were dashed by eight subsequent heat waves.
I am also beyond excited to be turning our front garden weed-bed (it stopped being “lawn” ages ago) into a total of 15 new veggie beds. It is almost quadrupling my current veggie space. Now I’m confident of handling it all and just can’t wait to start.
But, I have a problem with my planning that feels a bit familiar.
Almost 15 years ago, when arranging our wedding, the biggest challenge for me was deciding the table settings at the reception. Like every family, we have people who mix well together, and those that don’t. And those who refuse to show up at all!
Even though we only had a small party, making sure the 70 or so guests we had invited would all be seated in a happy spot would ensure everybody enjoyed themselves. Earlier that year, I attended a wedding where I was sandwiched with ex-boyfriend to the left of me, new fiance on the right.
Yes. It was awkward.
We had one guest in particular who was going to be a bit tricky. My great-Uncle Bill (who has since passed away) was seated with one of my Aunts. I knew neither of them would be thrilled with the idea. You see, Uncle Bill was a bit of a character. An octogenarian and committed bachelor, he disliked hanging out with “old people” and preferred to sit with the younger (lady) guests. He liked a few drinks and usually dominated the conversation, often with rather old-fashioned ideas about indigenous Australians, feminists and homosexuals. When the reception opened, he snatched up his place card and squeezed himself next to one of my cousins. Thankfully, that arrangement suited everyone.
Plotting out the new veggie patches is a bit the same as planning the table seatings. Some plants just love each other, with plenty in common. Some plants help each other out, supporting each other to reach their harvest potential. Others……. not so much.
I decided to tackle my planting dilemma the same way I did my matrimonial seating plan. When the kids were finally all asleep, I poured myself a glass of shiraz. Then I put every plant’s name on little pieces of paper, made 12 little zones to represent the garden beds, then I shuffled everyone around on the floor of my lounge until they fit.
So the artichokes are getting their own bed, planted with a few beautiful poppies to entertain them and provide some classic to beauty contrast the artichokes otherwise prickly outer appearances.
The asparagus peas are loners and don’t eat much, they are getting a bed all to themselves.
My tomatillos need two varieties to enjoy themselves, so they are all going in the one place where they can ramble about together and not annoy the others.
Thank god for tomatoes, eggplants, zuchinnis, chilli’s and capsicums who all fancy a bit of a drink, but can handle a bit of stress. They are not going to fall over when it gets too hard. They can be relied upon to go the distance and be the life of the party.
I’ve decided not to invite asparagus this year. They seem to be a bit too fussy. Maybe next year.
The corn is going to mingle with the watermelons and beans…..these “three sisters” go way back and complement each other well.
Rosella’s are new to me, so I’m keen to impress them. They are getting a lovely sunny but protected spot that should keep them happy. I’ll keep them to themselves this year, if they appear resilient, I’ll mix in some company for them next year.
The cucumbers are going to catch up with some beans and sunflowers, same with the rockmelons.
Peanuts are getting their own bed, they have particular growing habits that are a bit unusual. I don’t want them to feel self concious.
My carrots are sharing with the shallots, with the beets in a neighbouring bed, also enjoying the company of some fine leggy alliums.
The pumpkins will be taking up a fair bit of room, so they are headed out the back where they can stretch their legs.
Luffa’s are new to me, and I can’t wait to have them along to the party. I know they like to be warm, so I am planning to grow them up against my front brick wall which will support them and radiate some welcome heat.
Upon reflection,I have a lot of work ahead of me to pull this off!
But who can resist a spring-long party?