The Plant Ambulance


Yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning baking, dehydrating apples and doing kitcheny things, I headed out to start repairing the damage from the compost I bought.
I opened the front door and saw Maris hanging around near the lemongrass. I repotted this a few months ago and it looks perfectly happy but it hasn’t grown at all.
It’s because she’s eating it.

Here’s the plant ambulance I assembled from the things I had in the garage. Some potting mix, Dynamic Lifter pellets and some aged manure.
The first thing I tackled was The Great Pumpkin Experiment. Some of the leaves were yellowing, despite the addition of the coffee grounds, so extreme measures were needed.
I lifted out each pumpkin plant, got rid of as much of the ph10 compost as I could without disturbing the roots too much, then refilled the pots with a mixture of all the things from the plant ambulance. When I put the pumpkins back in, I also added 9 sunflower seeds to each pot. Why not?

Here’s hoping they’ll look happier very soon. It’s raining today so they’re having the best (second) start possible.
I was all set to keep rescuing pot plants but the pumpkins had used up all the available potting mix. I was about to jump into the car and head off to Bunnings when I realised that none of my hideous offspring would stop watching a stupid movie and come with me. Plus, my gardening clothes were pretty old and tatty; wearing them would atomatically mean that I’d see about 20 students and their parents, or an old boyfriend. Best I stay at home…. Bunnings can wait until after work.


I went into the right-hand veggie bed and decided to renovate. I pulled out a silver beet plant that was overhanging the path. Then I got a wild look in my eye and decided to turn this whole bed into a no-dig garden, with paving stones as a path so I won’t have to step on the beds. Brilliant! A low-tech solution!
I raced around, finding old pavers dating from before we moved in. (14 years ago.) Then I stragegically dotted them around the bed so I can leap gracefully, gazelle-like from one to the next, eliminating the stress of my elaphantine girth stepping onto the garden beds and squashing the worms.
The gerls hung around, optimistically hoping I’d be digging for worms.

I had to pull out a red cabbage that was in the way. It’s in the fridge now, waiting to be part of the bolognaise I’m making tonight.
Ages ago I blogged about putting pollinators in pots around the veggie garden. The catmint hasn’t done anything but this alyssum has gone gangbusters.
This Bunnings bean self seeded where I grew the most magnificent vines. It survived over winter, looking a bit sad and sorry for itself, hiding behind a huge red broccoli. Now that it’s been pulled out, I’ll feed the bean up and see how it goes.
Self seeded potatoes from a patch I planted about 5 years ago were dotted all through this bed. As we’ve grown things over the years, potatoes have gradually been moving their way around. Even though the plants hadn’t finished growing, I wanted a clear space to work with so I pulled them all up. Not bad, for a ‘crop’ I didn’t plan on having! We’ll get a meal out of this lot.

After that, I split the garden bed into the sections that the pavers indicated and put pellets of Dynamic lifter on the soil, followed by handfuls of the aged manure. It might be overkill, but on the reasoning that this stuff isn’t doing the garden any good if it’s just sitting in the garage, I spread it around with gay abandon.
Then I put a thick layer of mulch, first using the last of the leaves my blogless friend Sandy gave me last autumn, then moving onto the sugarcane mulch.
I wandered inside at around 6.30PM, feeling tired but satisfied with my day. Till I saw the state of the kitchen.
Those boys had been inside all day and they’d done NOTHING to help. (Well.. David2 brought a load of washing in from the line, but apart from that the place was untouched by human hands.)
I went operatic, swearing that I couldn’t cook dinner until the mess of the dirty dishes and unstacked dishwasher was sorted out. They sprang to action.
I wandered outside with a glass of wine, leaving them to it.
I sat out in the front yard, at first thinking embittered thoughts about my troll-like children, but then as I looked at how peaceful and pretty the front garden looked, I was so glad that we’d all pulled together and worked so hard to get it done.
At first I was planning to make bolognaise for dinner, but what with the wine, the achey muscles and the delay before I could start cooking, we ended up with this:
Well, I never said I was perfect…

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11 Responses to The Plant Ambulance

  1. Urspo says:

    Fish and chips remain the best comfort food

  2. Widget says:

    So I went shopping and bought up big in the cat area……..3 big bags of litter, 3 big bags of dry and 3 boxes of wet. Then was spotted by students in my supermarket……..dressed in a tracksuit and looking like the mad cat lady with my purchases! Tatty garden clothes are nothing……lap it up!

  3. Mary says:

    Your descriptions of the boys are glorious. And familiar.

    You are transforming that garden – I am so enjoying watching it bloom and grow – dodgy compost notwithstanding.

  4. Bev says:

    So a good day’s work was done by all. Well…perhaps not the boys. The front garden looks terrific. Hope the pumpkins will be OK.

  5. Jayne says:

    Good on you on the no-dig garden, way easier on your back, too.
    If it makes you feel any better I got taken to hosp a few months back in my tatty, dirty gardening gear (which included a fair few slops of Moo Poo Tea) LOL.

  6. Gwen says:

    I hope your plant ambulance works! I think I might be having a similar sort of problem with my new raised garden bed — I ordered some recycled potting mix and some composty stuff from a local nursery (like a crapton) and thought the mix would be brilliant! But now my seedlings are looking a tad yellow. I’m hoping the compost is just not mature enough and that I need to fertilize everybody and that they’ll come around.

    Love reading your entries — you are too funny! Good luck with the garden!

  7. river says:

    I’m thinking that from now on it’s a good idea to ph test every mix you buy before planting anything.
    I hope the pumpkins recover and produce. Laughed at Maris eating the lemongrass.

    P.S. typo? spelling mistake?

  8. Sal says:

    “I was about to jump into the car and head off to Bunnings when I realised that none of my hideous offspring would stop watching a stupid movie and come with me.”

    Perhaps the funniest thing i’ve read all week…. And I have had the same experience which probably made it all the more amusing… bahhaha!!!

  9. Scott says:

    I need pumpkin blossoms to cook but I can’t find them anywhere!

  10. Valerie says:

    My 2 cats keep 3 lemongrass plants permanently grazed. I get nothing. Well, I suppose I get happy cats…

  11. Oh your cat is beautiful! A Russian Blue? Just the kind I would love.

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