Gardening, planets and our crossword
There is no doubt that living on a boat is a cool thing to do. When I say I have a narrow boat the first question is always ‘do you live on it’? I can see the look of disappointment on faces when I say no, not all the time. When I do rub gunwales with other boaters I see they have some of the same problems on a boat as living in a house, only probably wetter and houses don’t tend to sink.
Gardening on a boat also faces some of the same challenges that I have to overcome in my garden at home, especially where there are a lot of residential boaters living closely together in urban areas.
There are five cats that regularly visit my garden, all belonging to neighbours and I spend plenty of time shooing them out to save my herbs from unwelcome calling cards and the nesting birds from being eaten. It seems that cats are now causing a few problems of this sort in boat roof gardens as well; cat poo in a container vegetable garden is a potential disaster.
There are a few ways to try to prevent unwelcome moggies from visiting your containers with out resorting to preparatory animal deterrent. Wide mesh chicken wire over the compost will allow plants to grow through the holes so cats can’t dig, they will also turn their noses up at sliced lemons or prickly twigs.
The most organic method I have found is to grow Coleus Caninus, which has a strong smell cats hate. It is a bit smelly but better than the alternative.
If you haven’t done so already, it is definitely time to get those glorious bedding plants potted up now, especially if you want a chance to enter the Boats in Bloom event this summer. We should, hopefully, have just about seen the last of the frosts now, but, while the sun is getting stronger there will still be some cool nights and windy days. To get the best out of bedding plants in containers is simple – feed and water regularly. An excellent resource is the range of self-watering containers, available in garden centres, which hold a reservoir of water in the base to keep the compost moist at all times.
They have a handy tube to enable water, preferable with a little soluble plant feed added, to be poured straight into the base. This is a great feature particularly for Tomatoes and courgettes which both dislike water on their foliage and are prone to blight and grey mould.
So having dealt with cats and planning a watering strategy, let’s hope for plenty of sunshine and look out for some especially pretty boats this summer.