It’s been nearly a month since put finger to keyboard for this account of my continuing takeover of my father’s garden. Of course May / June is a great time in the garden as the seedlings germinate, grow and are hardened off in the cold frame before being planted out in serried ranks in and around the patch under the increasingly watchful eye of the Old Man.
A year ago I would have dreaded the offer of advice from the OM, but now I can take it or leave it and it does not worry me. This year I have germinated the mangetout in three phases separated by a couple of weeks to ensure a longer harvesting season. When I planted them out I wanted to put them in separate rows to ensure I knew which was which to see if my cunning plan had worked. Unfortunately as I was about to insert the third set, the OM appeared and advised me that I was spacing the plants out far more than I needed to. I went to transplant them to reduce the spacing but was advised to just put the remaining plants in between the others.
There lay the quandary: should I do as he told me and mess up my planting plans, or contradict his suggestion and carry on with my relocation of the previous plants? Of course I steered my usual path of least confrontation and decided to change the activity while we continued our conversation on other topics. So I got on with hoeing, watering, weeding…anything to pass the time until he decided it was time to head back indoors. Of course the conversation took ages: we men find it easiest to talk when one of us is DOING something while the other observes and advises. Only after the best part of an hour did her return inside and I was able to go back to the mangetouts and plant them in the order I wanted. But in the spacing that he had suggested. A fair compromise, I reckon.
Is that diplomatic on my part? Or merely spineless? Perhaps this is why we manage to rub along as neighbours – despite some differences. I might get frustrated but don’t generally get annoyed or angry. Not my style – and I think it works best with his lordship.
With the good weather of late, the OM has as taken to spending more time in the garden, busying himself with the industrial tasks, such as weed-killing the grass around the beds. I think he likes the instant results of his death-dealing actions as the weeds wilt and die. Unfortunately his sprayer has been a little wayward so that some of my purple sprouting, runner beans, and kohlrabi have a bad case of the measles as the Weedol has drifted off target.
It is bloody annoying. After all that work planting the damn things, I do not need them being wiped out by some over-exuberant chemical warfare from my father. I suppose I could have given him some advice on how to do it or I could just rant at him for his negligence, but I probably won’t do either.