Useful gardening gadgets; a spectacular sight in the night sky; our acrostic quiz
For those of us who love both gardening and boating, this can be a trying time of the year. It’s cold and muddy underfoot and damp overhead; little is growing and little is moving.
I have planted up some winter containers with pansies, colourful heathers and tiny shrubs with pretty berries. Lurking beneath their roots are some spring bulbs – dwarf Iris and jonquils to grow up through the plants in the spring, but, my eyes are really on gardening catalogues and goodies for Christmas.
As we are all aware, living on board makes one think carefully about what is important in terms of ‘stuff’, there is simply no space for junk when living on a boat. I have a house, it is full of junk: I have a boat – it is not! And, when I am staying on my boat, I cherish the freedom, not only to move at will but the freedom from unnecessary clutter and this goes for gardening accessories as well as shoes. Container gardening needs the minimum of equipment, often just a spoon and fork will get you by.
I love the idea of making use of what I have so when I was given a Paper Potter, I could make my own seed pots out of old newspapers or magazines, though I confess to still using loo rolls inners for sweet peas and beans. My lovely dad was a real gadget man, though most ended up in the back of the shed little used, but one thing he did find was a Bottle Top Waterer. A nozzle screws on to any old bottle, making a water spray – so simple but brilliant.
These gadgets are available at garden centres and online retailers and would definitely go on my Christmas wish list along with 5 litres of 10/40 engine oil and some new filters. Another must-have is an Aqua Brush Boot Cleaner; how many times have you soaked the inside of your shoes trying to get mud or dog poo off the soles? Well, this is the gadget to make this task simple. It has a bottle you fill with water with a scrubbing brush attached and you scrub away, targeting the water exactly where you want it. Perfect for keeping mud outside the boat.
Of course, if gadgets are not your thing, you can’t go far wrong with a plant in a box. It seems you can get almost everything in kit form now and that goes for plants as well. Windowsill herb gardens, bonsai tree kits, flowers and vegetables (including the peppers pictured) are all available in handy little boxes with all you need to grow them inside. I love these; pot, compost seed et al. all in a box – particularly good for boat gardening, no waste and nice and compact. All you need is patience and that is what I am exercising while I wait for the spring to get here again.