Tuesday, 8 February 2011

2011 I admit it's finally started!

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What I've been up to.

OK so Candlemas has come and gone and so has Groundhog Day so I must admit that the New Year has finally started.

I've been away in England for the past three weeks or so. I visited my mother in Kent and then took the coastal train down to Brighton to visit Fin and family and then further down the coast to visit Adriana and Jim near Haslemere.

At my mother's place the idea was to finish off some work in the garden in preparation for spring.Last November I started converting the vegetable beds into raised beds. the idea is make growing vegetables easier to manage for my mother. We'd lose some space but the whole thing should be easier to use. The raised beds would mean smaller plots, new soil and walkways all around to improve access. The idea is that we'd no longer have to walk on the garden and each bed would be accessible all around.

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My Dad had left plenty of wood around so this was used to build the beds. - ten in all. Once the beds were made then the paths were laid between them. These were made by putting down weed control sheeting, which were weighed down with sand and concrete stepping paves and then covered with bark chippings. This meant we didn't have to worry too much about getting the paths perfectly level and the whole thing would be softer to walk on and nicer to kneel on when working in the beds.

I had a cubic metre of topsoil, a cubic metre of compost, 6 bags of vermiculite and ten bags of compressed coir delivered. Together with compost from our own bins these were mixed up to fill the beds. The coir is made from the fibrous husks of coconuts and is used instead of peat. the coir and the vermiculite (a mineral) are mixed into the soil to make it lighter and easier to work. No more digging!

I also had a cubic metre of bark chippings delivered for the paths. all in all it was quite a lot of work to wheel-barrow all this stuff from the pallets at the front of the house to the back garden. Thanks Brian for lending me your wheel-barrow!

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This is what it looks like now. some of the beds are covered in fleece to warm them up whilst others are covered with ugly wire mesh. This latter is to keep the local cats off the new soil. I've noticed three different cats wandering about and we've invested in a ultra-sonic scared to keep them away. Let's hope it works!

One bed is already planted with garlic and I look forward to starting the planting towards the end of March.

Garden Diary

I bought a heated propagator today ... and promptly planted it with 8xCabbage, 8xBroccoli, 4xCoriander and 8x Sweet Peas (Painted Lady).

Yesterday I bought and cut some wood for a new raised bed and today I  painted the wood with protector.

In the garden I planted the 3 Nerines that my Mother gave me.

In the garden itself the crocus are already flowering and the snowdrops continue. All the other types of bulbs are coming through, both in the garden and around thr fruit trees.

In the first raised-bed the garlic is just starting to show.

I noticed Blue-Tits in the garden today as well as the more usual Great Tits. The Ring-Necked Doves visited later.

All of the trees and shrubs seem to be in bud and the Hazels have catkins. The Honeysuckle by the shed is in blossom too. The Flowering Currants are, as usual, ahead of the rest.