Tales from the Farm – A Little Bit of Cucumber
“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.
I cannot believe that having reached my thirties, I haven’t actually ever – as far as I can recall – grown anything from seed. How did that happen? Anyway, I rectified that this week and I’ve got something exciting to share with you, which could well cheer up your workplace, too.
Mrs Jez, Zeus and Marley (the dogs) and I all love cucumbers, so I decided to grow some in the vegetable garden. The seeds arrived this week and I found myself planting cucumber ‘crystal lemon’ seeds for the first time in my life into delightfully cute little pots in the greenhouse.
The packet I bought contained 40 seeds but I remember having a cucumber plant before and they are quite prolific – you pick one and 9 more appear, so, not wanting to end up with a glut of cucumbers, I found some old, overly small terracotta pots to sow them in (I believe they’re called “thumb pots”) and saved the remaining seeds for another time, or to gift to a least favourite friend at Christmas.
It was so simple! Some special seed compost (which is finer than regular compost and depending on which brand you get, has extra nutritional value to help the germination process) scooped into the tiny pots and then place a cucumber seed into each one. Monty recommends planting them long edge side down, to help prevent the seed rotting. I quickly ran out of tiny pots so decided to put 2 seeds in each. They get lightly covered with a little more seedling soil (I’m a fan of the Daylesfoot compost, which contains sheeps’ wool to help retain moisture, although I’m not sure we’ll be using it any more as it’s not approved as organic by the Soil Association – more on that in the “Going Organic!” blogs), gently watered and placed somewhere warm and bright. This is where the moisture retaining compost comes in especially useful as it helps to prevent the water-hungry cucumber seeds from drying out and the beautiful Gabriel Ash greenhouse is the perfect place for them to germinate before I harden them when the weather warms up a bit and finally plant them out into one of the vegetable beds.
So what has this got to do with your office or work environment? Well, the whole process took less than 10 minutes and I realised just how dreary and bare the soil-filled pots looked but that the contact with nature during those 10 minutes certainly brightened my spirits: I was – and indeed still am – full of hope, anticipation and excitement at seeing my cucumber plants spring into life. You could do this at work – get yourself some seeds, some pots and some seed compost. Draw up a water rota to spread the responsibility and ensure they don’t dry out and enjoy propagating your own plants in your office, classroom, surgery, warehouse etc. It’s too simple to not try it.
Jez Rose is a behaviourist, broadcaster and Faculty Lead for The Good Life Project; a research project evidencing the impact of nature on health, behaviour and wellbeing. Ambassadors include broadcasters Kate Humble and the Soil Association. For free brain tricks and behaviour fixes, visit: www.thebehaviourexpert.com