Monday, April 27, 2009


Big clean up

I am still trying to clean up the lot which has gone mad after quite an April that alternated showers with bright sunshine and warm weather. There are dandelions everywhere and lots of annoying grass. So over the next couple of weeks, I will have to take a pickaxe to it all and rip up all the unwanted vegetation (as usual).
Yesterday I had quite a useful session (and I have the aches and pains to prove it). I got stuck into the compost pile, which now has a big load of ready compost in the bottom: the challeng is getting it out, as it is enclosed in a wooden box. I got out a few bucketfuls and then (with the help of the fork) about half a wheelbarrow full which wasn't too bad for my first effort. I used that to topdress the fruit patch and the garlic and echalotes, and to incorporate into the patch I was just sowing, with carrots, parsnips, radishes, rocket and beetroot. I hope it will enrich the soil for me. It also went on the patch of new lettuces I planted out and was then spread over the existing peas and broad beans and dug into the second pea bed that I sowed yesterday. Some of the lot is still a mess but the rest is starting to look planted: spuds are being earthed up, which makes them look important I always feel, the onions are above ground so that patch looks alive too.
At home, the cat started nibbling the chilli plants (stupid animal) so I have had to make a makeshift greenhouse with a plastic sheet. The plants are going great guns under it! The tomatoes are growing steadily and the peppers, courgettes and aubergines will really have to go out next weekend, they are getting too big for indoors. Next week, warm weather is predicted, over 18 deg so I think they will cope well with the change then. Which means I must quickly get some manure, to bury under the black plastic: I am planting all the tender plants on plastic this year, it saves an awful lot of weeding. I have also noticed that when patches are covered, the next year they get less weeds: could they be protected from seeds too?
thank you to Chris who gave me some pumpkin plants! I have LOTS of pumpkin and squash this year, it's among our favourite foods, so that seems a good idea. I have sowed some Australian squash (pattypans), and pumpkins, and also green and yellow courgettes.With my sweetcorn (special for cool climates), and some more Coco de Paimpol shelly beans, a wonderful Three Sisters bed should rise out of the ashes of last year's spud bed!!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


Baby plants

I have spent most of the week pricking out my seedlings into pots, especially to give away my over abundance of tomato seedlings to friends and workmates. As usual my cat thinks it is fun to try eating them, especially the sweetcorn and the peppers but I have smartly covered them so she is foiled once again.
I am looking forward to having a couple of days off in May to plant out the various plants, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, squashes, and corn.

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Monday, April 20, 2009


getting slack

Recent wet weather and various family commitments stopped me from working in the lottie for the last couple of weeks. Big mistake. The rain has transformed everything into a jungle.
I struggled, I suspect to the amusement of my neighbours, to remove the kale cabbage that was now bigger than me. I ripped out a wheelbarrow load of weeds, mostly dandelions, in a desperate attempt to make it look decent.
I then proceeded to plant the potatoes, a bit later than usual but the new potatoes are already a few centimetres high! I planted about 50 or 60 plants, I was knackered.
I must hurry and do a carrot and parsnip bed, and plant out some lettuce which are growing. I will have to start the broccoli and sprouts at home, they have been eaten by bloody snails.
At home the tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and sweetcorn are doing well. A big plant out in May is on the cards.
I was rewarded with my first crop of rhubarb, and some lovely chives and self-seeded corander that is popping up here and there. The garlic and onions are going great guns so now I just have to...dig!

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