Preparing the border

It’s been almost spring today. Here in the west we’re usually watching the rain pour down as the news reports dire warnings of drought for the south east. But today we got some sunshine and it was wonderful.

Incidentally, I wrote an article on coping with drought and hosepipe bans a few years ago which is on the site here: Growing with a hosepipe ban. If you’re in the midlands or south east then you’d best get prepared for the worst now. For the rest of the UK, I’m researching growing in the rain. So far I’ve got water cress and rice on the list!! (Joke)

Now I’m well behind on writing my next book so I had to get my quota of words done (in the right order as well) before I went out which took me to lunchtime. If I don’t meet the deadline the editor is threatening to send the heavies. Worse than the Sopranos when she’s crossed. But after lunch it was outside time.

I’m clearing a border at the back of the house after renovating the retaining wall and it’s quite a job. One reason the retaining wall was collapsing is that the soil level has built up over the years, so I’ve been barrowing about 4 cubic metres of excess soil around the corner onto what will be a herb garden.

If it was just soil that would be a fair old job, but I’ve been sorting out stones whilst I’m at it. Most are fist sized but quite a few of the rocks are in the boulder class! The biggest ones will just have to stay where they are and be ‘features’, there’s no way I can move them on my own.

By the time I’d finished, not only was it going dark but my back was complaining, along with my knee. You may recall I developed a cartilage problem last year and I’m afraid it isn’t 100%.  It’s not bad enough to justify the doctor but I can tell I need to be careful or it will go again. The pressure of digging is part of it but the jar when the spade hits a stone is worse.

The next step is to add some soil conditioner and fertiliser before planting up with a selection of shrubs that don’t mind a shaded area. Finally I’ll put a mulch of bark chippings over. If you’re after some yourself, they’re on offer at Lidl at the moment and at the best price we could find, just £1.99 for 40 litres – under a fiver for 100L.

We’ve a very busy week coming up. On Tuesday I’ve a day’s work as general handyman at my daughter’s house in Leeds and on Thursday they’re coming to install our solar photovoltaic panels. Fron Dirion power station!

Since the solar panel installers will be tramping over the back border to get to the roof where the panels are going, that bed won’t be finished until they’ve gone.

I’ve also got my bulk delivery of potting compost, fertiliser etc arriving on Thursday. The delivery last year took a fair bit of handling. The driver refused to go up the track. Despite us having had a full sized removal van up there, he reckoned it was too small for his lorry. So he dumped the load by our bottom gate and I had to wheelbarrow it all up the track by hand. Happily our neighbours are going to come with their large trailer and help me this year. It even has a hydraulic tipping facility.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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