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God, Sir Alex, a pear tree, and Arsène Wenger

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Richard Cadey Richard Cadey | 12:20 UK time, Friday, 2 September 2011

Firstly, many apologies for garden blog silence over the last few weeks. Put simply, I went on holiday by mistake. After a week of food poisoning I recovered sufficiently to play football with my 11-year-old nephew and promptly broke my thumb! A 300 mile drive back to Glasgow with my 16-month-old son Max was never going to be easy, but it just got a whole hell of a lot harder!

Anyway, what of my garden. Well, let's for a moment consider the similarities of tending a garden and managing a football squad. Neglect and injudicious pruning can cause the kind of difficulties currently facing Arsène Wenger, whereas using experience and nurturing the young as well as knowing exactly the right time to do a spot of weeding, and you have the winning formula of Sir Alex's Man Utd. So which am I? Well, according to the latest garden expert (Jim Jermyn Gardening Scotland's Show Manager) dispatched to my veg patch on MacAulay & Co's regular Monday morning garden slot, alas it seems the former rather than the latter....

Jim was full of praise for the quality of the soil for which he quite rightly gave me credit. A notion disputed by Stephen Jardine, in the Mac & Co hot seat while Fred takes a well-earned post-festival break. His point was that God was solely responsible for the creation of the soil, but I pointed out that while He may have laid the ground work, it was definitely me that had applied the Organic Farmyard manure! I wish it had have been Him, for it's not a pleasant task, as God well knows.

As for the rest of the garden, well my pear tree is doing well; this was an addition to the plot in the last pre-festival slot. My onions look good and are finally ready to be lifted, as are my radishes, but alas my salad leaves look a little dreary and my rocket has singularly failed to blast-off! Jim said that there was still time and I needed to be a little more patient - I've waited four weeks already, that's a long time for a salad in anybody's book! He also said that in future it would be wise to plant these seeds in rows like the tatties and not to broadcast plant. I resisted the temptation to tell him that the whole point of the radio item was to broadcast plant, and said instead that I would heed his advice. It's good too because at the moment it's hard to tell what may be the start of salad leaf growth and what are weeds!

Speaking of weeds, which we have a lot over the last weeks, he mentioned the importance of not only ridding the plot of the pesky vegetation, but also the area of land surrounding the plot which can cause problems further down the line. As for pruning, well now is a good time to dead head your plants and take off the flower seed heads, from, for example, my oregano. However, when I asked him about my apple tree, which for the first time in five years has not produced a single apple, he said that it was in desperate need of a good old pruning, but that mid-winter was the best time for this to take place. And there I must leave it because gardening is hard enough without the added complication of a broken thumb, and I must crack on, no pun intended. The next Mac & Co's gardening slot will be at 10.35am this coming Monday Sept 5th and I'll be back with another blog next week. Until then happy gardening!


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