The Stopwatch Gardener

A gardening blog from Sheila M. Averbuch

Fear of toads and other 2010 resolutions


Click for larger imageI know the garden is never done, and all that, so in figuring out my resolutions for 2010, I’m not promising to get things perfect. But there are a few stupid things I did in 2009 that are helping me settle on attainable goals for next year.

  • Screaming at toads: I promised myself I wouldn’t do it again this year, after humiliating myself in 2008 while chatting to my mother-in-law, clearing out some expired summer pansies. But there I was again this autumn, shrieking at a toad I’d unearthed when rolling away some heavy stones near the dianthus. I’m not sure what became of him, but he was last seen smacking his head on the window ledge, trying to escape my sound effects. 2010 will be different, I promise.
  • Nothing November: as I explained here, I planted the hall border when I was expecting my daughter, planning for it to be a rage of colour for her every year. But the autumn flowers there are gone by her birthday at the end of the month, and nothing else fills the gap in November. I’ll probably bite the bullet and go for grasses; anything is better than the void.
  • Greenhouse frostbite: I thought the sunny position and wall-hugging construction of my greenhouse would protect it from frost. The perished seedlings and cuttings say otherwise. Last night the temperature fell to -6 Celsius and I’ve only just managed to save some of the tougher ones. Since we re-organised the house, we have space in the unheated conservatory to let many of them come inside for the winter without getting over-warm.
  • Crop failure: the stumpy, poisonous-tasting carrot above, and a few sorry Charlotte potatoes, were the sole survivors of my halfhearted vegetable growing this year. I’m not good at this! In 2010 I’m starting extremely small with the Eatin’ Project — a 1 m x 1.2 m raised bed, my first proper effort to grow-and-eat. I think it was the Copenhagen talks — and all you vegetable-inclined gardeners on Twitter — that have helped me accept that growing some of my own food is an imperative. My all-consuming passion for flowers doesn’t really need to consume every bit of my garden space. Stay tuned for updates.

Happy 2010 to you all, and good growing.

7 Comments to

“Fear of toads and other 2010 resolutions”

  1. On December 29th, 2009 at 1:12 pm Liisa Says:

    I must say that I had a good chuckle over your resolution to stop shrieking at toads. I have unearthed many a toad, and shriek at them every single time. I just can’t help it. I figure that if they want to live in my garden, they are more than welcome. But, they will have to put up with the shrieking. That’s just the way things are. Good luck with your vegetable garden in 2010… I have found with a raised bed and some good compost you really can’t go wrong. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday, and best wishes for the New Year!! I look forward to your posts in 2010!!

  2. On January 8th, 2010 at 3:30 pm Persevoni Says:

    Sheila, I too shreik at toads and frogs, to get me used to these “creatures” my dear daughter bought me a frog house a couple of years ago with the injunction to understand how they feel in the really hot weather with no shelter. Since putting it out religiously every year and taking it in in the winter months for a clean up and dry up I have not seen a single inhabitant!!!! is there a lesson to be learned here. Happy new gardening year and good luck with the veg plan

  3. On February 13th, 2010 at 8:50 am seedparade Says:

    Hi there!
    Come on, i am sure you can grow tasty veggies. Maybe it is true that you need a few years of experience in it, but hey it is easy, really is. Try with the easieast cops, like courgettes, no way that anybody can fail to grow courgettes! As for the carrot, looks like it was in a rather heavy soil. Try to add sand to the area where you grow the carrots, it will do wonders by loosen up the soil and allow the roots to grow nice and straight. And they defenetly love water. Good Luck!

  4. On February 13th, 2010 at 7:30 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Hi seedparade & thanks so much for your encouragement — I need it. I bought the round little Parmex carrots because I’m trying to ease myself into it and don’t wanna be discouraged by crazy distorted roots the first year. I am tempted to grow some of the long, straight kind, but I would probably put those in a container in my chimney pot, with plenty of sand, to hopefully encourage them to go straight down. I’m going to reserve the raised bed itself, I think, for lettuces, dwarf French beans, tomatoes and spring onions. Come on, spring!

  5. On March 2nd, 2010 at 4:26 am Says:

    The mental picture of you “screaming at toads” made me laugh out loud, garnering a strange look from my wife. Do I bother trying to explain it to her? I think not.

  6. On March 2nd, 2010 at 9:10 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Thanks for your comments — we now have added a cat to the family so I’m wondering if he’s going to terrorize the toads even further. The slugs are going to take over!

  7. On December 31st, 2010 at 11:56 pm The Stopwatch Gardener | A gardening blog for time-poor plant fanatics » Blog Archive » Garden resolutions 2011: hug a tree, sit for a bit Says:

    […] I never made New Year’s resolutions, much less wrote them down. It’s funny to look over what I resolved a year ago. Happily, I managed two of the four resolutions I made: I don’t scream at toads […]

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