Saturday, 12 January 2013

Its started. Time is just disappearing!

    I cannot believe it is two weeks since my last posting. Time flies and is going to do more so as the days lengthen and more jobs need to be done in the garden. Christmas and New Year have come and  gone and what a lovely Christmas it was too.
   In the outside garden forking and weeding have been the main jobs. I like to think I am getting on top of it and most beds look clean and tidy. It will not last! Those weeds will soon be back. I took my heart into my hand and dug up a rhubarb, split it and replanted in the gaps in the rhubarb bed. Hopefully the whole bed will now become one mass of rhubarb. Manure applied and the bed then promptly visited by the chickens. The asparagus bed has been hand forked and weeded, again, much to the pleasure of the chickens! I have had to put old sheep fencing over the bed to keep them off.  I have made a start to pruning one of the old apple trees. Now I can walk under it without getting branches in my hair and twigs in my eyes! Leeks, celeriac, sprouts and cabbage are being harvested from the outside garden. There are still potatoes in the pantry however all the onions have now been eaten.
  Onion seeds have been sown and have germinated. Bedfordshire champion, Spanish onion and a new variety for me, yellow Rynsburger. This onion is reckoned to be a good long keeper. We shall see. Next to be sown will be Pak Choi and some good old Batavia lettuce variety, Reine des Glaces. They will go into the poly tunnel fleece cloche. I am resisting sowing tomato's very early this year even though they should be. I was caught out by the late frost we get here in the middle of May and my main crop of tomato plants were badly frosted. So, this year, my intentions is to plant them out after the middle of May rather than at the beginning. All the best laid plans of mice and men....!
Chicken muck compost heap
   I have reworked my chicken manure compost heap. Well, made it into a round heap rather than a sprawled mess. This stuff is really good but needs to be allowed to rot down a bit as it is rich in nitrogen and if spread straight onto the ground would burn any plants that had been put in it. The piles of oak leaves have been spread around the gooseberry and red/black currant bushes. The chickens liked this -AAARRGH! Chopped up leaves were put round strawberry plants. Ah! The strawberries are covered by netting. Fooled ya chickens!
  Broad beans, peas and garlic are surviving and growing well.
  In the poly tunnel things are quiet. I have top dressed a small bed and need to remember that I used rotted cow manure so that I do not plant lettuce. There is some lettuce and cabbage and a couple of cauliflowers which at the moment are looking good. Cabbage has not done well in the poly tunnel last season. Too many pests - white fly, then caterpillars and finally mould! That's what you get for allowing butterflies into one's poly tunnel. Broad beans are growing away along with some kohl rabi. I have taken a few early rosemary cuttings in an effort to make sure that I have cuttings before a possible frost damages the plant. In February I will take cuttings of  other herbs. I need to increase my number of white sage plants.
   The buds on the apple trees in apple tree row are showing signs of swelling. The neighbours lilac tree is in bud burst and just glancing out of the window as I type the sour cherry tree buds are starting to swell. So the signs of spring are starting show. You have to look hard at the moment but its coming!

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