Shaking up the Apple Cart, My Simone Bile’s Strawberries and Bringing the Beach back to SW3

A round-up of British Summertime 2016

Ahh! Sun, sea, sand, sharing gardens and shaking up the apple cart. What a surprising summer it has been. Hopefully, it stays so we can do all the garden jobs that need doing, whilst enjoying the warm balmy evenings with tropical humidity, so autumn, keep away.

Our driving June rain soaked weeds and brambles making them particularly strong pesky to deal with and then being followed by a drier July, it ensured anything you did want to grow, didn’t unless you gave it round the clock watering. Still, I’m looking forward to nicely watered plump apples.

Summer surprises!

Every time that I garden, there is so much to discover; tiny beautiful bugs I’ve never noticed before, or I find new varieties of plant that aren’t weeds and I’m learning new tips all the time.

There are so many surprises to be had in someone else's garden. This is the time to let it all grow out so you know what you to clear, and what you'll be dealing with next year. 

This summer, I transplanted last years surviving Strawberry plants out of their balcony containers into solid ground in my shared garden. To my surprise, I noticed they quickly grew rocketing out little runners.

Strawberry runners, ‘stolons’, shoot out from the main plant to continuously propagate it. With each visit to my shared strawberry patch, Simone Biles-like vines had have taken even further long-running jumps into the air to land perfectly enough to plant a new base firmly into the ground, growing new plants from a new node.

I named my fruits after my new favourite athlete.

As strawberries do survive after the end of summer, keep them out at the end of the season, let them run away with or should I say from you. Or at least to their borders, giving them a little trim if they seem to be wrestling other plants. Growing them like this saves money and creates about 4-5 new plants to every original one. Also, pack straw around the base of plants to cloak them from the cold. Then watch them multiply in the new season.

They say that things don’t happen overnight, but this summer, it did. What a difference a day makes, eh? Wherever you stand, Brexit is being rolled out which makes me think, it’s even more urgent to consider how we share.

Sharing in our communities helps us be kind to the environment, makes our stuff more useful as well as utilising our space, whilst helping us act more kindly to each other too.

We don’t currently know how the enormous change will truly affect our day to day lives, like the cost of imported produce; but any gardener will tell you how much more value to the soul and your suppers, growing your own gives.

So if you’re waiting for an allotment or just want to start growing your own, why not start by shaking up the apple cart in your neighbourhood and start by offering to share a neighbours’ garden; Offer to help with their maintenance.

We can challenge the status quo, we don’t need to wait for years for allotments if we got communicated in our communities about a different way of doing things. Sharing gardens could also better knit our neighbourhoods, bringing together people of different ages and various cultural backgrounds.

Gardening can help us interact with something real, learn from each other and in our current society, we have a need for transformation.

Bringing the beach to Sw3! 

Whilst I’m on my mission to get the world garden sharing, I’m getting lots of great tips on how to be a better gardener.

Here’s a novel idea.

One of our favourite summer pastimes in Britain is hitting the beach. Whether it’s wet weather in Weston Super Mare or a washed out weekend in Wigan, we all love the quintessential British seaside, don’t we?

So next time, bring back a souvenir. For the garden. Sophie and Orlando from Streatham did.

They brought home a bag full of seaweed and a few buckets of sand. It’s great for the garden. Seaweed provides the ground with a nutritious protective mulch and not only when it dries does it make it tough terrain for slugs to traverse, the salt in it repels them too.

You’ll be able to relive those summer memories digging in the tang of well-rotted seaweed which is so good for the ground.

The buckets of sand they brought home is great for gladioli! Happiest in well-drained soil, these blooms do well in claggy rocky London soil if planted within a pocket of sand or gravel to help with drainage.

Since coming home after the summer, Sophie and Orlando are keen to make a start on their garden, but would love to share it with someone interested in helping them tend to it.

Here’s their garden!

This is a garden available in London, Streatham. Its owners have tools, mature plants, fruit trees, flowers and are a pair of really easy going garden owners that need the help and would be glad to share it with a new garden Tender.

The great thing is there are tons of gardens like this one in London just waiting to be gardened.

So for the back to school season, turn a new leaf and garden share with Lend and Tend.