18. MARCH

We had another delivery of wood chip yesterday, my friendly tree surgeon has left a truck load of eucalyptus and pine chippings by the allotment front gate. I was hoping for that – after this weekend life will be much more complicated for us oldies. I shall use the proviso – do some exercise or walk, keep away from others – and continue gardening on the farm but shoveling wood chip is another matter. The aroma from the heap was quite medicinal.

The progression of one path renewal. It will make life much easier, no need to cut the grass.

As I had a new supply, I was able to use it on the little paths in one greenhouse and in the net tunnel. I’m very happy with the result.

Now I just have to hope for good weather, the seedlings are doing well in the greenhouse at home.

SOME COLOUR

This time I was working in my back garden. I always spend so much time on the ‘farm’ and seem to neglect the front and back gardens and then I feel very guilty. Weeding (almost) done, pots topped up with the rich stuff from the compost in the corner –  talking of that, I left it for about three years and what I got from there was nothing short of miraculous – rich, brown crumbly soil.

Bulbs are planted, one more dwarf apple tree is in a large pot and the greenhouse that is filling up alarmingly fast.

Time for some photos

11. MARCH

We have had some more rain so any more work on the soil is out of the question. Instead of that I was busy finishing jobs that were left, parts of my land were even neglected. One of these was a raspberry patch. It is away from my other plots, it is on a plot I was used to work on, I just have this raspberry area, a plum tree and a line of rhubarb. The neglect must have suited it, because just after clearing the weeds I discovered some super rhubarb, ready for picking and the five lines of raspberries. They were carefully planted in double rows, separated by little paths that were covered by a membrane (strips of unwanted pond liner).

It didn’t take very long and I had the plants trimmed, the dead wood cut out, paths cleared and some horse muck and contents of my composter bins spread all round the raspberry plants.

As I was working I had a very nice surprise – he/she must have been feeling quite cosy but then I came….

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I’m sure he’ll find another place to live.

After finishing for today I did my usual rounds, checking the trees and bushes. One of the old black currant bushes needed to have the big buds removed and that was when I noticed something on the old apple tree nearby.

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In the past I have been trying to rub the mistletoe berries into the bark but no luck.

Thank you birds!

PERFECTION

The last path to be filled with wood chip is ready, the edges are built with planks of wood from a dismantled fencing panel so today I could concentrate on the fruit cage. I’ve had this cage now for a good number of years and it needed sorting out. Some of the blackcurrant bushes were getting too old, they had to go. Blueberries are a super food, I like them and we put them on our porridge every morning so I bought a few new bushes. Early and late varieties and planted them in the cage. I already had some of them there.  Now I have two standard red gooseberries, a redcurrant, two white currants and a jostaberry. That is only a cutting, I haven’t had any fruit from it so I live in hope.

I’m always amazed how well the weeds grow – even though I thought I managed to pull them all out, they came back. I cleared them again. That done, I wanted to put pieces of wood all along the bottom. The netting is buried in the soil and pinned down but this is for extra security, in case some little bird or a mouse should find a gap to get in.

Spring is here, I just hope my Asian pear tree isn’t bursting into flower too soon – we might get some late frosts.

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2. MARCH

After the gales and downpours of the past few weeks it was quite pleasant today working in the sunshine. Blue skies and a gentle breeze, it was a welcome change. Fortunately I have done all my digging already so I could concentrate on maintenance. I managed to finish edging one path, ready for some more wood chip and then started clearing my large patch of raspberries, cutting them down. I usually do it in the autumn but I was too busy last year so left it for now. It will be interesting how they will fruit.

I picked my first rhubarb, not the forced one but the very early one – must be the earliest yet.

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To finish the activities I planted quite a number of lettuce seedlings – iceberg type – in the greenhouses. They should be fine, it feels nice and warm inside. It’ll be nice to have a fresh crunchy lettuce again.

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Another day of work tomorrow, must finish the raspberries and then I will need lots of patience to wait with sowing some more seeds.

22. FEBRUARY

Another day, another upcycling done. I was offered some blue rubber chippings, the kind used in playgrounds; of course I accepted. It took just the two of us, Frank and myself, filling a few large sacks and a wheelie bin, then taking it to the allotment and the result is…

I didn’t mix this with the wood chip, these two paths are small and to the side but important to cover all the same, it stops the ground getting muddy.

That was the other day. Today was the day of harvesting the last of the leeks and as it wasn’t too wet I decided to dig the patch over. Good job done, it was quite easy and by getting this done all my digging is finished. I hope the leeks will do as well this year, they were tasty and lasted the whole winter.

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SALVAGE/RECYCLING

Quite a lot of houses in the neighbourhood are in process of being either renovated or, more the pity, turned into houses of multiple occupancy, eg. student accommodation. That means the workmen are removing a lot of fitted cupboards and such like and this is where I come in. My motto – if you don’t ask you don’t get – works every time. Rather than putting the planks etc in the skip, the builders usually keep it to one side for me and I take it to the allotment.

All this will be used in renovating the paths – not all of them, some are fine with grass surface but some are too narrow or uneven to maintain well. Having the wood chip on will keep them tidy and mud free.

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Waste not, want not!

FRONT GARDEN

This afternoon was earmarked for some serious digging in the front garden.

The job started on Sunday, between the showers. There was a large yucca in my front garden, I got it as a small cutting about 20 years ago. It was flowering well but last year it started showing signs that all was not well. In a way I didn’t mind digging it out, it was taking valuable space from my other large specimen there, a loquat. That is grown from a seed – some years ago we went to Istanbul and had loquat fruit in a restaurant. Of course I had to save the seeds and on return home I planted them in a pot and they germinated. I can’t imagine ever having the fruit here but it is a handsome tree.

The roots of the yucca went down for ever but they and the whole trunk were really fibrous, difficult to cut with a saw but much easier to hack with my favourite tool, the azada. Much easier to use than pick axe, much lighter. I have already mentioned it in another post, from January 2015. One of my very favourite Christmas presents.

Now the square of soil is cleared of all weeds, it is ready for new plants. I have decided on Hellebores, they should do well, it is slightly shaded by the hedge, and as they are not tall, they will not compete with the loquat.

 

HANDICRAFT

This might be the last blanket – spring is coming and I will be busy on the allotment. I didn’t think I would make it at all but after a long thought I decided to change the design and make this one.

I am happy with the result – it was much faster to do it this way and I still didn’t use up all the wool. Perhaps next winter?