Posted by: Anne | 07/11/2009

I actually made it to the Garden Centre!

Delighted to find that I have a day off today.  The kids have homework and want to chill, so I went with my lovely friend Julie to ‘Blooms’ near Rugby.

It’s a huge garden centre and I think they have branches all over the country.

Today, it wasn’t so much a garden centre and Santa’s grotto!  With piped Christmas music playing all around the place.  The poor staff must know all the words to all the songs.  I just felt glad that I didn’t work there and then started to hum along to Bing Crosby.

I had a list of things to buy, a soil testing kit, fleece, labels for the squares and Globe Artichoke seeds. No, I wasn’t going to buy the lovely little glass Christmas tree decorations.  I have a list and I’m sticking to it.  Ok, we went and had a look and had a coffee and bun but its all part of the trip isn’t it?

By this time I knew the words to the Bing Crosby song so we decided to get out of there before we were completely brain washed.

There was a choice of soil testing kits, one for £1.99 and one for £7.99.  The more expensive one had enough to do 15 soil tests.  The cheap one is a one off test.  I went for the cheaper one.  I am concentrating on the raised beds and the rest of the garden can wait.

I would have ordered the Artichoke seeds from Marshalls, but I’m a bit impatient and can’t wait another three weeks.  But now I’m home and reading the instructions, it looks like I can’t get them going until February.

artichokeEven though I’m a novice, I thought it would be a challenge to try something new and exotic.  Have you ever driven through France and stopped the car in marvel at a field full of strange looking crops that you have never seen before.  It happened to me.  The first time it was a beautiful field of Sunflowers that were breath taking.  The second time it was Globe Artichokes.  We bought some and cooked them without really knowing what to do with them.  We broke off the petals and dipped them in melted garlic butter.  Once we had eaten all the petals, we threw the rest away!  Only when we got chatting to someone who knew what they were doing with an artichoke did we realise we had thrown the best bit away!

Now I’m very busy and am fitting this into pockets of time around the house, kids etc.  It was dark by the time I went out to get my bit of soil to test.

I put a bit of soil from 4” down the soil level into the tiny pot to the first mark showing on the tube.  Then had to sprinkle some powder that was in a capsule on top of the soil then add water to the 4th mark on the tube.  Replace the cap and shake.  Leave the settle and after a while it has turned a yellow colour.  According to the packet that means I have pH level 6 Acid soil.

Now I know this information, I don’t really know what to do with it!  I might go and visit my friend the professional gardener again.  He’ll help me I’m sure.

If you know, can you leave a comment to help me please?

I’m now hoping that onions, kale, cabbage, garlic and Strawberries all like an acid soil.  Otherwise, it’s back to the Hospice for plants situation!

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