Monday, 26 July 2010

Middleton's Gardening Guide

It cost two shillings and sixpence in "old" money - that's 12.5 new pence post decimalization! Still quite a lot of money when I was a child. But I managed to buy it and it was my gardening "bible" for all my horticultural endeavors on my vegetable plot at home.

I well recall the frustrations of not being able to afford many of the aids recommended by Mr Middleton. How could I possibly afford cloches, for instance? Or seed potatoes? Or all the pots and seed trays he assumed we had unlimited access to? Or the peat, chalk, sand, loam, sulphate of potash, to make the recommended John Innes composts?

All I had access to in abundance was free cow manure from our covered yard, where our dairy herd over wintered, and I lugged vast quantities of the stuff over to the vegetable garden, spreading it widely as well as building a huge heap on which I grew amazingly enormous marrows!

But I poured over the "Gardening guide for every week - all the year round," marking items for me to act on at the appropriate times, whilst dreaming of all the many things beyond my grasp. I used to send off for all the seed catalogues and save pocket money to buy seeds. I wish now that I had kept those old catalogues.

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