Sunday, 16 March 2008

Steady Progress at the Plot

I spent a couple of productive hours at the allotment today. I sowed three rows of lettuce (Little Gem and Tom Thumb) in the large cold frame, dug in some chicken manure and planted the rest of the onions. Also pulled up quite a bit of couch grass from around the paths and did some general tidying up. The patch is finally losing its unkempt look and no longer stands out as the messiest plot on site.
The garlic I planted in early March has sprouted to about two inches, but none of the shallots or earlier planted onions are growing yet.
This evening I spotted a fox in our street. I've heard foxes many times at night but never seen one around here before. I was driving into the street when a young fox appeared (coming from the adjacent common ground). It crossed in front of my car and then dashed into someone's front garden . I'll be keeping a keen eye out from now on.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Onion Planting

I managed a dash to the allotment after work today, determined to get a few things in the ground. It was pretty chilly so late in the day but a long to do list kept me warm!

I sowed rows of sunflower seeds, perpetual spinach and spring onions and planted 15 each of shallots, garlic and onion sets. There's loads more onions to put in - I simply ran out of time.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Back To The Garden

I spent a couple of hours this week starting to dig over the vegetable patch. One pleasant surprise was finding that last year’s garlic which didn’t grow has sprung to life over the winter and is looking fine and dandy. I began by weeding around said garlic, and then got carried away into the next bed and the one after. It was great to be digging the earth again – I’ve really missed the fresh air and exercise these last couple of months.
The weeding was surprisingly easy, partly because the earth is moist and the weeds haven’t really got a foothold yet, but also because I’m reaping the benefit of having done a lot of deep digging last year, to rid the garden of Japanese Knot Weed. I found myself thinking about how gardening is so much like life – digging deep is hard work, but definitely worth it in the end. It seems that I’ve swapped one problem for another though (so like life!). Where the Knot Weed has gone, Fat Hen has now run wild. Still it’s a lot easier to get out of the ground as it doesn’t root deeply. (For some strange reason I always want to call it Fat Chick. Best not go there!) I guess in the end, if the new weed is less tricky than the previous one, you at least can say that things are moving in the right direction!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Essential Wormery Maintenance

Emptying the wormery went to the top of my list this week - with the decomposing matter only inches away from the lid, I kept finding worms making an escape bid. Tecnically it should have been a simple job. . .

Legend; Remove the top few inches of rot, to be put back in later, as this is where the worms are supposed to all hang out, then empty the rest (what the pros call 'black gold") into the garden or to mix for potting compost. It's supposed to be a rich crumbly, earthy substance.
Reality; Remove top few inches - worms everywhere, so remove next few inches. Keep going; more worms than anticipated, get over a foot down into the composty stuff - still endless worms. Continue (what else to do?) Storage box now full (see above) so start using sack. Keep going. Yet more worms. Start to wonder if worms can suffer from overcrowding. Sack now half full and still no sign of the black crumbly stuff. Am looking at slimy potatoes and tea bags, and a large worm community. Finally strike a fine vein of black gold before establishing that the worms have also populated the bottom of the bin.
So, end result - two bags of worms and tea bags to go back in, and half a bag of almost compost.
Anyway, the job got done and I added lots of ripped up newspaper to the slimy worm mix as it went back in, to dry it out and stop it getting water-logged. As you can see, it's a dirty job, but quite frankly I didn't mind!
Best of all, I got to spend about two hours outdoors - that's the longest it's stopped raining so far this year. Consequently I am feeling a much saner person this evening. As yesterday was officially Blue Monday, I am calling today Turnaround Tuesday, the first day of the garden calendar '08.