Saturday, March 31, 2007

Warm sunshine, strong wind.

Strange but lovely day, wonderful warm sunshine with a cold strong easterly wind.
Two T-shirts and a fleece tied round the waist needed to keep my back happy.

The dog forced me to construct her a sheltered sunny spot using garden trolley plus coat, then she settled down to supervise my work.

I hoed out three 18' harvesting ridges from last years spuds. Leaving the soil in ridges over the winter really lets the weather work on it, this nicely weathered soil went straight to seedbed tilth. After raking in a light dusting of pelleted chicken manure I planted 120 Sturon onion sets and one 18' row of Early Nantes pelleted carrot seed, 300 seeds. Gave the carrot row one 11L rainstorm.

Then I set to work weeding my fruit terrace,. I started at the western end amoungst the "new" currant bushes where grass tufts and seed drift from my herb patch were the main offenders. As I moved east into and through the raspberries the weeds shifted to being strawberry runners, 90% strawberry runners. I have no need for more strawberries and thus nearly filled a 300L compost bin with strawberry runners plus other weeds. Towards the end of this stint I was working in the shade and my tiny hand wos frozen.

To finish my afternoons gardening I did the noisy stuff, strimmed and mowed the site drive and my plot side paths. Using the strimmer with my back to the wind was funny as I kept getting nice gusts of warmth across my arms from the exhaust.

As always my gardening is paced and I make full allowance for my bad back, half an hour of squatting to weed leads to quarter of an hour back stretching break lying straight and stretched out in the sunshine with my furry supervisor standing watch, or using me as a centrally heated windbreak.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Intentions versus reality.

I had intended to plant my onion sets on plot seventeen, but my back insisted it did not want to get exposed to cold drizzle and biting wind.

So I went and bought ten bags of postcrete for continusing witht the northern fence replacement, as I had run out of it, so was unable to pop a post in when I had the time.

On returning home I retreated to the unheated, but sheltered greenhouse and pricked out my "Piglet Willies" aka banana shallots supplied by Pigletwillie from GYO.
From one hurried sowing in a single tray on 23rd Jan, I now have ninety-seven pots, ninety three with single seedlings and four each having an additional little sprout.

The rest of the contents of the inner sanctum (growbag house with single-tray heated propagator in) to the main bench also got reorganised.

Moved the Climbing French Bean seedlings straight onto the main bench.

Pricked out the nine best seedling Cayenne Chilli Peppers, discarded the rest and a whole mini-tray that had dried out , sowed another tray of sweet peppers. The whole lot staying in the sanctum. Pricked out the eight nice little Butternut Squash seedlings and replaced them in the sanctum. Turned the fifty nicely growing sweetcorn seedlings round, as they had a slight lean.

Watered everything, then did some site agent stuff to agree with Michelle how much of the available five rods she wanted.

The finer weather means I need to be more disciplined about watering my seedlings, the max-min thermometer shows that the inner sanctum is regularly exceeding 40 degrees and as a result I lost a tray of pepper seedlings that just plain dried out.

Monday, March 12, 2007

At last a nice day when I can garden.

Sunday 11th.
Rhino bruised his elbow at school during the week, suspected break, but just bruising, anyway, he only lasted at rugby training up to the first tackle he made on someone in the practice game.

So I got an extra hour at the allotment.
However had to be careful as I carried a bit of kit at work from one building to another, it was well within my lifting limits, however my back objected and ten minutes after sitting down at my desk it started to "squirm".

Dug off the neolithic barrow from last post I set up on the fence to the position for the next one, dug the hole and set it using the very last bag of postcrete. Need to get some more, plus reciept.
Attempted to tidy the sunniest strawberry bed, oh dear oh dear.
Note to self, this year I must cut back the plants hard once they finish fruiting to prevent runners. The furthest I found was six feet outside the bed. I ended up weeding out a good hundred plants along the edges, then raked the dead stuff and oak leaves off the rest of the bed, dug out some weeds and left the higgledy-piggledy plants as they were.
Took a rest with my supervisor, the dog, nearly went to sleep lying on my plastic bag and old scourer underlay bed in the sun, noisy kids made me look up and there was my furry little guard keeping watch. About five other people there all the time, though different ones at any given time.
Removed the last of the carrots from the raised bed, why is it commercial carrots have so little flavour? It can't be like commercial tomatoes, where hendling qualities outweigh flavour and texture, carrots are hard and resilient veggies.
Weeded about half the plot used by last years early potatoes, then decided discretion was the better part of valour and went home to a beer, a hot bath and a roast pork dinner.

Monday 12th
Great days these as the daylight zone starts to extend into the evening.
Got home early enough to go up the allotment and spray the resurgent couch grass on plot 18.
About four other people up there enjoying the warm sunlight.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I've started, hopefully I'll finish.

On Monday February 5th my mother passed away, the old peoples friend pneumonia took her quickly, after a long illness. I have therefore been a little busy with non-gardening matters. To compound things when I have had time the weather has removed my inclination as the plot has been way too soggy.

However, last friday 23rd feb, I had some spare time after dealing with some legal paperwork, so I ran an extension lead, off an RCD, down to the greenhouse and initiated plan "Frost-free".
Inside the greenhouse is a complete plastic covered "growbag" greenhouse, inside that is a single tray electric propagator.
I sowed last years seed : butternut squash, peppers, tomatoes, climbing french bean and sweetcorn and this years seed; some banana shallot seed from the most excellent Pigletwillie, a good KG and GYO forum friend.
Today I took these pictures.
The growbag house in the greenhouse.

The butternut seedlings, cover removed for photographic purposes, the peppers and tomatoes not yet showing clearly, but on the way.

This slightly fuzzy phot is of Pigletwillies banana shallots.

Just outside the greenhouse door I have this lovely display of lenten roses.

Inside on the bench various flowering bulbs, which were repotted last friday 23rd Feb.
Just visible in the foreground are my lettuce seedlings