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Making a Massive Mess

February 14, 2011
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At first I was hoping I could just pass the state of my new potting table off as ‘creative chaos’…

But then it started to spread from my work area in the bedroom into the hall, the Hoya carnosa stretching nearly the whole length of it when I untangled it to build a new trellis.

2.8m/9.something feet long - yup, I measured.

When the Tradescantias also spilled over into the hall, and the jumble of pots cut off access to the rest of my bedroom, and there was hardly room to stand in front of the potting table, when I’d tracked potting mix into every room and dry leaves had fallen all over the place… there was no use pretending, even to myself, that this was anything but the greatest mess I’ve made in years!

I only cleaned up when I ran out of potting mix and had to wait for morning, when the stores opened again – and then the next day, went right back to making a mess.

It was worth it, though. Five evenings of work (and a tiny bit the morning of the sixth day) – I could have been quicker if I hadn’t gotten side-tracked every time I went to the computer to update my plant list – and now according to that list, things look thus:

I have 175 plants.

99 of them have been repotted between February 6th and 10th (and another 6 in January or late December).

32 have been propagated in that time – mostly Tradescantias, a few Aloe veras, Oxalises, and Fittonias (and another 15 propagated/bought/been given since Christmas).

Only seven have been thrown away during this massive clean-up, and those all died of ugly. Only three deaths in the last few months are clearly linked to the move (underwatering). A few were given away to my mother, including most of the ivy collection, which I won’t even try to grow here in my south windows.

And all the rest did at least get a close look, slow-release fertilizer, water, and whatever was necessary in the way of pruning or staking. I’ve never done that before, getting all of my plants back into shape at the same time, and it was fun. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my potting table – everything is so much easier when you can do it standing up rather than crouching on the floor, and I didn’t have to clean every evening, either just sweep up the worst of the dirt before I dropped into bed, and I could close the door on the mess and not look at it until I was ready to get back to work (though it helps I’m living on my own, and no-one’s complaining about the bits of dirt that have hitched rides on my feet to get all the way to the kitchen).

And I love having a place to put everything, potting mixes, pots, drawers for tools, seeds, fertilizers, saucers… so much easier than trying to cram it all into a tiny corner, store it on the balcony or in the cellar!

Now it’s time to start seeds and start a round of neem-spraying (stupid scale!) – I’d better get started soon, if I want to be done by Friday (when I’m getting visitors, and I already know I won’t have time for anything for four days, and probably no motivation at all for some time after. Those people are just too much fun.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 00:00

    Hmm… I thought potting benches were supposed to help you NOT make a mess 😉

    • February 16, 2011 00:22

      They probably help… if you unpack and put your pots away before you start, instead of just plopping the moving box on the floor and throwing everything you’ve used all over the place.
      I got a bit better once I’d cleaned up after running out of potting mix – didn’t want to make such a mess again after I’d organized my pots and tools and stuff.

      • February 16, 2011 01:33

        I think it’s also slightly abnormal to repot 99 plants at once so I guess a bit of mess can be excused.

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