Getting things ready

With all the bad weather since Christmas it is hard to believe it is time to start doing things, and even more surprising to remember the clocks change in a couple of weeks. It has stopped raining for the odd day here and there to be replaced with cold clear sunny days which is much better – but then it does spoil it by raining again for a day or two.

Last week I expanded the strawberry bed and so this weekend I filled it in with composted manure. With no more mushroom compost supplier I had to go to the garden centre this time for “farmyard composted manure”, whatever that might be. The bed is ready for strawberries now (give or take some small bits of tidying up). New strawberry plants arrived in the post during the week along with some from Wilkos too. For now I have potted them all up into pots and once they have recovered from being packaged up I’ll plant them out. The plants from the nursery via second class post looked in a lot better condition than the ones from Wilkcos but I expect they will all catch up

We have two purple sprouting broccoli plants which have been going for what seems like a lifetime. Today I was finally able to cut some spears off and while doing so noticed a lot more appearing. Both the plants have not really been looked after as it was all a bit of a rush planting them out last year. They have been worth the wait. While doing this I wondered what the two weeds that looked a bit like parsnips were in the middle of the cleared parsnip bed. It turned out to be parsnips (not too surprising) which I had missed digging up earlier on in the year. A bit of a bonus for the day.

A home the radish and salad seeds I sowed and put in the small plastic greenhouse have all started to show. The leeks will take many more weeks I’m sure. Looking back, I’m normally sowing everything by mid March and planting out onions sets too. Because of how wet everything still is I am going to leave this to next weekend instead.

It was nice to finally have a weekend when it was enjoyable to go to the plot on both Saturday and Sunday morning. For Sunday I wanted to prep some of the beds ready for planting out onions and potatoes possibly next weekend. While I have been doing nodig last year, it is my version of nodig which is getting the soil in good weed and stone three condition with digging initially and then covering with compost. The beds are mostly in that stone and weed free condition and so I have been putting compost on top. The problem this year is the lack of cheap/free compost and so for the beds that have not had their layer this year I have just raked over and added some blood, fish and bone. I am planning to sort out the compost bin area when the weather gets a little bit nicer, and that will include smaller bins to store fresh horse manure which I may be able to get hold of.

The area between the overwintered onions and the leeks will have shallots and onion sets planted. The area that last year had swedes will have potatoes, and where rogue garlic is currently growing (and I’ll leave it to fully grow), a first lot of carrots. All these beds raked over and looking good and ready.

I finished off the new strawberry bed but straightening the edges a bit and pulling away from the edge of the field as by the summer time this will be a sea of bindweed. By giving the extra gap I have room to keep that under control. I saw there was still woodchip available and so put a couple of wheelbarrow loads around the edges to help too. I removed the edges on the path side as they are not really needed.

I wasn’t going to spend as long as I did but I was able to hoe about for the first time this year which really tidied everything up.

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