After our announcement last week, I got quite a few emails. Some were requests, some ideas, some questions. And quite a few were asking me how I approach the slug problem.
Let me explain. On the patio, I have a little germination greenhouse where, too early and too enthusiastically, I planted trays of kale, herbs, leaves, and lettuces. They came up nicely, got planted out and then almost disappeared to the slugs in a short, distressing week. Walking back up from my evening class in the office, I would pick a fresh crop of slugs, dispose of them, and find the same an hour later. As Iggy would say, “Daddy sad.”
So I went to war. I strimmed the grass, I surrounded the beds with herb plants. I sprayed two litres of strong coffee around. I put down slug pellets and beer traps. A short Google will give you many ways to repel the slimy little beggars. The evidence is thin and contradictory, but the principles seem sound. Give them fewer places to hide, fill the garden with things they dislike, and, where necessary, murder them. Try many things, but never assume you know which one is working.
Last night as I walked up from the office late, I shone my phone torch onto the raised beds. Not a slug in sight. The Chinese kale is growing pretty high. The rocket is recovering, the mixed leaf ready to harvest. I am feeling more confident about planting out my squashes and cucumbers. It seems I have won.
But neat though that is, it is not the end. I am anticipating a summer of tomato blight, powdery mildew, aphids, drought, and persuading a two-year-old to not eat that. Because a garden will never do exactly what you want it to do. Your carefully researched measure will fail or succeed completely independent of how much work it took. And a new problem will appear just as you master the old. It’s an ecosystem that you are a part of, not a puppet you control. Often the next step will emerge not from your brain, but from what is there. Some things will grow that you never expected to, some things will refuse to. Humbleness must be constantly refreshed.
And that’s how Heather and I want to approach the expansion of AndAlso’s classes and the new relationship with the Maydays. Both in Brighton and online. With energy, sure, but also with humbleness. Anyone who has ever met us will know that we are not short of ideas. Date night descends into a brainstorming meeting and a beer after class will have us scribbling notes. We’re going to try a bunch of things, see what grows, and accept that some plants just don’t like the climate. So below you will find ten things which we plan to do over the next year. I expect six or seven of them will happen.
- A new syllabus for Brighton classes
- Experienced player classes
- A Brighton scenework drop in
- An expansion of online classes
- More retreats and intensives for people not in Sussex
- Blogs and podcasts
- A Brighton venue (more on that very soon)
- A jam night
- Weekly themes for drop ins
- That thing you suggest at our survey right here