Friday, March 14, 2008

Libyan Earth II

I had a couple of hours in the garden in the early evening, (it's already getting too hot to do very much during the day, my patch of ground facing south west as it does). I raked over the garlic bed I'd cleared a few days ago. There's an ants' nest at one end of it: big buggers unlike anything we get in the UK. Anyway, I hope they'll leave the garlic alone. I planted just one row down the middle of the bed, the cloves about 10" apart, and planted so that only the sprouting green shoot was above ground.

Then I planted "Russian Giant" sunflower seeds, that I'd bought back home, in two small beds, each about 2x4 ft. One of them I planted as per the instructions: each sowing a pair of seeds, and they were about 18" apart. This bed is under the kitchen window, and I'm looking ahead to a time when birds might be attracted to the seeds, and the flowers should be at a level with the window. The other bed I was deliberately more slapdash with, scattering the seeds on and raking them into the soil. See what works best.

I tidied up a narrow bed, the first one I'd dug when I made a start last week. It was planned to be about 15' long, and about 2 wide, at right angles to the house, but I was constantly interrupted by folk wanting to know what I was doing, and I was getting a wee bit narked. As a result, the bed was as straight as a dog's hind leg. So I spent some time today straightening it out somewhat. I'm not sure what's going in there yet, coriander (Arabic kusbora, stress on middle syllable), perhaps. I've got a half kilo of kusbora seeds from the market in Dhara, but I tried a handful in a glass of water tonight and the blighters all floated - always a bad sign for seeds' viability.

Likewise some more sunflower seeds that I bought locally, but then sunflower seeds have that big outer casing so maybe it's just the air in that... I know where I intend to put them, another dog's-hind-leg bed I dug on the first day, which I'll straighten tomorrow, inshallah.

Also tomorrow, peas to be planted in pots, pepper in a tray.

The basil in a tray has not shown itself after nearly two weeks on the windowsill, with a plastic cover on to keep it moist. Also no sign yet of the fenugreek, which was only sown a few days ago.

The picture shows the tools I bought last weekend. 19 dinars the lot. The spade and the hoe are excellent, the rake's a bit femmer. The trowel is the sort a bricklayer or archaelogist might use, but it's ace for close up work.

Sitting on the backdoor step at dusk when I knocked off, I glimpsed a nightjar flying over - like something between a falcon and a big swift, very pale.