Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Getting organised.

It's not raining! Yet. The clouds are gathering and the sky is darkening, but it's not actually raining as I type and hasn't been raining since I got up this morning.The evenings are slowly getting lighter and there are spikes of green coming up in a few places. It's not spring, not yet, but the early bulbs are starting to come through.
This morning I have caught up with the laundry and braved the shed - which needs completely emptying and sorting before I put things away in there again. It's a mess, but I wanted my garden fork.
I'm not going to hang the laundry out, the threat of rain is there and the air is too damp for anything to dry or even air properly.
The reason for the shed expedition? In my garden I have 2 lines of raw compost laid as a mulch on the surface in the hope that it will kill off anything underneath and provide the basis of a semi-raised bed. More of a mound than anything more formal, but it's an experiment and it needed forking over to see how it's doing underneath. It's actually doing OK. A light fork through to aerate the mound a bit, mix it up, and I can leave it alone while I add more, and it should be good for late spring planting, I hope. If not, I can skim off the mound into a heap, dig over and plant anyway.
I have, in pots for now, a red gooseberry bush and a tayberry cane and I want to add those to my soft fruits patch which already has a couple of raspberry canes and a blackcurrant bush. All of those will multiply later this year and although I'm not expecting lots of fruit this summer, I should get some.
What I really want is a couple of apple trees, but I need the ground to be less swamp-like before I get them so I can plant straight into the ground where I want them to go. Once I decide where I want them. I say them, but 1 would do if I can find a self fertile variety that tastes good, with a firm, crisp texture. Failing that, 2 to cross pollinate and 2 varieties for eating and cooking. And I want to prune them to a bush, or fan, or something easy to reach and manage.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Planning and Plotting

It's raining. This is Wales, and we live half way up a mountain - it often rains and when it does it settles in for a long stay. At least it's not hail, and the car wasn't frozen this morning. But the garden is sitting under an inch or so of standing water. It's not a serious flood, just saturated ground with a bit of water on top and the surface water is running off down the road. It's just there's a lot of it.
But I'm looking at my garden and it's a massive job to make it work.
There's not much top soil between the grass and the detritus underneath. I started clearing some growing space last summer and it was like digging into a landfill site. The soil is full of bits of metal, recognisable electrical parts, bits of lino and that's before I think about the stones, perennial weed roots and broken glass. It's such a massive job that I really don't want to even start. I've been using a thick layer of raw composting material along the areas where I want the first 2 veg beds in the hope that it will kill off the grass and weeds and make the digging a little bit easier. Or I could leave it heaped up, put in some box sides and make raised beds? I haven't decided yet.
Then last week I heard about the chance to maybe apply for an allotment, to share with a friend. With 2 of us working it we might get somewhere and it would give us growing space while I clear more of my garden for growing at home.
Sounds like a plan!