Symbolic Forest Gardenblog

An experiment in container gardening

Posts Tagged ‘rocket’

Growth and slumber

As you might have noticed from the date of the last post, not much gardening has been done recently. Even though I went out to swap seeds, nothing yet has been sown. It has still felt cold and frosty, damp and grey, at least until a warm bright morning this morning. I went outside and noticed that the chives have started to wake up. Grown from seed last year, they did not come to much in their first year. However, they seem to be coming back again, because each plant now has a cluster of new shoots poking upward.

Moreover, the three boxes of rocket, which I had been intending to pull up, are bursting back into life too. The wild rocket had been laying low but hanging on, a carpet of foliage which managed to survive the frost and snow we had earlier in the month. This morning, I noticed that in the past week it has bolted and burst into flower.

Wild rocket

The two boxes of garden rocket had even managed to keep their flowers all winter. These too, though, have started growing fresh flower shoots and buds recently.

Garden rocket flowers

Pulling them up is on hold for now: at this time of year, anything in flower deserves to be kept for the sake of the local insect wildlife. I do love letting the garden rocket go to seed: last summer each rocket flower stem was surrounded by a cloud of hoverflies for most of the day. The neighbourhood hoverflies are still waiting to emerge, but no doubt there are other hungry insects looking for nectar right now.

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Coming up already

On Saturday, as mentioned, we sowed a few boxes of quick-growing seeds to make them useful for what’s left of the summer. Radishes, rocket, and mixed salad leaves.

Today, four days later: all six of the boxes are sprouting already! I know radishes and rocket are quick germinators, but they weren’t this quick before.

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The week in the garden

This week we have:

  • Pulled up the pea plants, post-harvest, and dug them in to the back bed
  • Pulled up the English marigolds, and the rocket that had gone to seed
  • Re-sowed the boxes this freed up: two with radishes, two with rocket, and two with mixed salad leaves
  • Sowed the last of our Swiss chard seeds in a spare half-box.

In the name of Science, I sowed the new boxes in an experimental pattern. All of the boxes had the existing compost thoroughly turned over to dig in the roots that had been growing there before, then had extra compost added to top them up. For each of the three types of seeds, we sowed one box which had been growing peas, and one which had been growing something else. We’ll see if the nitrate-fixing effect of the pea roots is noticeable. My suspicion is: it won’t be, especially for fast-growing plants like the radishes, because the pea roots won’t rot down fast enough.

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