This week we went to the allotment and did something that wasn’t just collection or construction (although there was some of both!)
It’s tough on the allotment right now, everything is brown and damp and we do have things growing (leeks, kale, chard, spring cabbage, onions, garlic, herbs) they all look a bit sad and bedraggled.
We came to work but first we went to Wilko to buy bird food. The squirrels, pigeons and magpies have consistently wreaked the seed bird feeders. So we decided that we were not going to buy anymore and have instead gone to metal containers, so fatballs and peanuts are the way forward. The robin came and visited while we were putting them up, he seemed to approve and was already pecking at the peanuts when we left!
First things first, we sowed some sweet peas to be left in the polytunnel and then we put the obelisk that we bought for the transported roses in the new bed next to the polytunnel. Then I had to transport the roses!
First I had to prune the roses back (which is why this week my hands and arms look like I’ve been wrestling with a cat!), then get them out and put them in their new home. I moved one of the pink roses and the white one, leaving the other pink one to run amok in the rose garden but I’ve pruned that one right back too! I’m sure that they’ll survive but if they don’t, I’ll deal with it. This bed has pretty much all I want to put in it, in now. At the front are the peonies (which may sulk this year after their move), three white lavenders, and the roses. Yes everything in that bed is pink or white, no I didn’t plan it.
Behind that bed is a mess. There’s a boysenberry, some strawberries that we inherited and two gooseberry bushes that I need to put in the ground. So the plan is to cut the boysenberry back, clear as much of the grass as we can, and build a proper support for it. Then clear the strawberries, plant the gooseberries and woodchip that area. I know that is drastic but it’ll give us a productive, easy to protect from the birds area in a couple of years time! All that is a job for next week or more realistically, February.
Right back to what we actually did on Saturday. Ma was weeding the very weedy edges of the plot opposite the rose garden (so away from where I was working). It’s a horrible job and she’s so much better at it than I am! I need to get some cardboard and decent woodchip down here to preserve the work. It’s hard to see or appreciate unless you’re also fighting the encroaching couch grass in your plots or gardens, but it’s a huge amount of work. We’re also working on widening the path between the plots as it’s narrower that it should be so it’s tricky!
I was sorting out the path between the iris bed and the rose garden. This bed has mostly iris type flowers in it that have really spread so I’m calling it the iris bed but the grass has also been spreading. So some weeding was in order. I build this and the rose bed in February 2019 at the time the soil was in rough shape, I’ve mulched with compost every spring and I’m really pleased at how much better it’s got. It’s full of worms, it both drains and retains moisture better. We are still fighting a battle against grass and bindweed but the plants we’ve put in it are doing well and in the rose garden I have two tiny lavender plants that have self seeded! I’m calling that success.
After this bed and the path, I started on the rose garden. I cut back the lavender, and the oregano stalks from those plants, pulled up the weeds and the bonarieses that was were it shouldn’t be. Cut back the bonarieses that was where it should be and also cut back all the dead knautia stalks and trimmed the roses.
It’s a bit tidier but the pond area is really weedy and I need to sort it next week. It also needs a compost mulch and I need to reduce the pond plants by half!
So more tidying and weeding in February, I would also (funds permitting like to sort out the raspberry fencing). March is for topping up all the beds with compost and sowing carrots, peas and beetroot, then I’m going to spend from March to June, fretting about sowing and planting out!
The first crocus is up and spring is on it’s way.