Sunday, 23 April 2017

April 2017

 We're in the season of cherry blossom.
 The plum tree has been flowering well too.

 Dwarf narcissi have been spectacular.

 More plum blossom.
 On the veg plot, our reconstruction and clearing efforts have resulted in a new herb bed and two much larger beds bordered by new paths all around. The compost bins have been moved to a shaded spot behind the camera in this photo.
 As an example of what this clearance work involves, here is a before and after pic of an area containing self seeded raspberries and nettles.  The nettles will be finally cleared with weedkiller.
 Digging out raspberries on a steep slope is not recommended!
The Robin enjoyed our efforts with lots of food provided for him.  Next week will be planting week.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Starting 2017

 After a relatively warm and dry winter, spring is now gathering pace.  My crocuses have been magnificent this year.
 Miniature daffodils and narcissus.
 The major remodelling on the vegetable plot is mostly finished, but more serious work to come.  This larg area has been changed with beds moved and the path relaid further down the slope (you can just see the imprint of the old path to the right), away from the apple trees which had grown so much they prevented walking along the path.  This slope can get very wet in periods of heavy rain which we had while building so it will need relaying again once it has settled, as it looks a little bit wobbly  
The winter jobs are all done now, the raspberries and other soft fruit pruned and the new loganberry shoots tied on for this year.  The broad beans, onion and garlic are all in, so now the priority is to weed and prepare beds for the year with compost and manure.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Jerusalem Artichokes

Today I dug up about half the Jerusalem artichokes,  some are huge and there are several pounds worth. Nice for a winter soup.  Easy to grow,  even in damp clay,  the only problem with them is they are thuggish and move to grow where they want to,  not necessarily where you want them.  I have already moved some to a new part of the plot,  so the rest have to come up.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Last big crop of the year

Today I picked the Spartan apples which was a decent crop from a young tree.  The last of the tomatoes  are off and the plants are now in the compost heap.  The pumpkins had a poor year due to very low summer temperatures but they did produce two fruits.  The autumn raspberries are still going strong,  there will be more if the weather stays as good as it is right now.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Autumn Doings 2016

As the season nears its end, there is still lots to do.  These cornflowers are coming to a close but still pretty.

The autumn raspberries have been magnificent, providing lots of fruit each week.
While the apple crop is poorer than normal due to the temperatures at pollination, the late summer increase in temperatures has encouraged the marrows and we have a heavy crop, more to come.

So thoughts turn to next year and this corner of the plot is top of the list.  This corner and the left side used to have raspberries, very old plants that I inherited.  They didn't produce much but I left them there for several years, until a shed was erected next door which took most of the light from this end of the plot.  Over 2-3 years a lot of the raspberries died, others grew away, towards the light and nettles took over.
So the only thing that can be done is to make the shaded area a compost/manure area.  This means digging up all the raspberries by hand.  Hard work, but as raspberries root themselves fairly near the surface they can be removed with time.

The plan is to move these artichokes up to the top corner, where the shade will not affect them too much as they will quickly grow above the wall and fence.  We will also remodel this whole area, making two beds with a grass path in between into one larger bed.  We will then move the two enclose beds you can see here down the slope, relaying the path behind at the same time.  The path was laid when the apple trees were small, it has slipped downhill a bit and is too close to the trees. 

Phase 1 is now complete, all the raspberries have been removed (the ones on the left are next door!) and you can see one remaining pile of stalks and roots in the centre of the picture.  All the compost bins have been moved to their final positions.  The two small ones at the top are standing above the water pipe  which enters at this point - not a good idea to grow plants over that!  The corner has been composted ready for the artichokes, so phase 2 is now the remodelling of the bed edges - the slabs on the left mark the edge of the old bed and these need to be moved as there is no light here, so we will make a new, broad path along the edge in front of the compost bins.  Lots still to do but good progress made.