Friday, December 10, 2010

The Black Lagoon

It's great how words get hijacked and reinvented down through the years. I was thinking about the case of the word 'trug' while I was enjoying a late afternoon beer, watching the bubbles come up from the pot of chives I was drowning in a dark, slightly smelly, black liquid that half-filled my indispensible trug. (I'll get onto the story of the chive-drowning in the Black Lagoon in a moment.)

The word trug seems to me have been hijacked here in Australia by the good folk who make the versatile plastic trugs pictured below. A lot of gardeners overseas would think of a trug as a handy small wooden basket, but here in Australia our trugs are luridly colourful, bendy plastic tubs with handles on the top. I couldn't do without mine, and in fact I have four of them, and I'm going to sing their praises for a moment.

Three of my trugs are the same size as the orange one on the left, and I found this smaller, snazzy purple one at Officeworks (a chain of supermarket-style stores for small business supplies – fabulously good fun to shop in with a trolley and a credit card). As you can see it's the purple one where I'm drowning my pot of chives.

Here's the Black Lagoon. Now I am being kind, not cruel (well, except to ants, I guess). All my potted herbs are not looking all that terrific at the moment, and I'm too lazy and busy to repot them as I have done in previous years. (Standards are slipping around here.) And so I am trying to rewet the soil inside the pots and hopefully drown some ants while I am at it.

The evil black solution is a product called Seasol Super Soil Wetter, so it's a combo of the popular seaweed product Seasol (a soil conditioner) and a soil wetting agent. I mix up two 9-litre watering cans worth of the stuff to fill the trug, then add the pot. It takes about a minute or two for it to sink to the bottom, then the bubbles keep on coming up from the pot for another 20 minutes. After another half an hour I remove the pot, put it back in its spot (on pot feet so all the liquid drains off), then water it with clean water to get the soil wetter muck off the foliage. Then I add the next pot to the Black Lagoon. Hopefully it should work well. It has worked a treat with my larger potted cumquat, which I blogged about here earlier this year.

As well as drowning the chives I also gave the pot of tarragon the same treatment, and immediately after its soaking both pots look dreadful. Well, I'd look dreadful if was soaked in a Black Lagoon for half an hour, so fair's fair.

This is how the same pot of tarragon looked in March this year, so it's a shadow of its former self at the moment. If the soaking doesn't work, I guess I'll repot it in autumn, like I probably should anyway.

It was while I was watching the tarragon and chive pots bubbling away in the Black Lagoon that I started thinking about how fabulously useful tugs are.

My garden is far too small for wheelbarrows of any kind, and so my trugs are my wheel-less barrows. Here they are doing great service during my annual 'harvest of the compost tumbler bin'. One tumbler bin easily fills these three trugs, and the vegies and all other plants just love the compost when I spread it around.

When I need to make up a specialist blend for a potting mix (for example, bromeliad mix, which is 50:50 orchid potting mix and ordinary potting mix) or as pictured here, my 50:50 blend of straw and compost for hilling around potatoes, the trug is where the action is. I use trugs for repotting, carrying tools, dropping weeds into, mixing up any liquid concoctions in bulk – you name the job and the trug is always close at hand. I simply couldn't do without my little bendy, colourful, plastic trug.

And finally, for a complete change of topic, before I sign off on today's post. I'd like to direct all of you over to Lanie's blog at Edible Urban Garden for a moment, as she is being featured not only in the latest issue of a stylish magazine, but her posting also includes a great linky to a little video all about her wonderful kitchen garden right here in the inner-west of Sydney, where I live too. It's a cute video and a lovely, lovely garden. Well done, Lanie!


Kevin said...

I'm glad you added your blog to the weekend rewind. I'm subscribing to it right now in hopes to improve my green thumb.

Alexa said...

Nice work. I feel the same about my buckets and plastic trays - couldn't live without them in the garden. I don't have room for a real wheelbarrow either, I use one of those things that's like a cross between a bucket and a wheelbarrow, can't remember what they're called.

degarfs said...

Hi Jamie

I re-potted my Dracaena Marginata (I think that is what it’s called – the purple leaf) last year. The plant is tall and thin, not much leaves on it. It’s a outdoor plant and the pots are located on the east of my house. Not sure why the plant looks so sad, thin and not much leaves.

I didn’t do the black lagoon when I re-potted the plant. I have only just added your blog recently.

Should I feed seaweed now? Do you have any tips on improving the plants?


degarfs said...

Hi Jamie,
Can the black lagoon method applies to other types of plants during re-potting? Thanks

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