Saturday started with damp and drizzle, not enough rain to do any real good but enough to make outside unwelcoming. It cheered up a little in the afternoon so I got some time on the plot.
First task was to finish off dipping the cut ends of the wood for the deep beds. They’ll need a day or two to dry out but a day’s work at this stage will put years on the life of the beds.
Next job was to pop in a rowan tree I’d got left. I’ve been told that at one time the hills of Snowdonia boasted woodlands including oaks, not just these mono-culture conifer forests that you see now in North Wales. A mixed habitat supports greater bio-diversity and wildlife. There’s a few of us around now, improving things and in 50 years things could be very different around here. I expect I’ll be in box in the top field then but not a bad legacy to leave behind.
I’d had a second delivery of garlic and had started those in pots. It doesn’t take long for them to be ready to plant out. I prepped one of the existing raised beds, adding soil conditioner and spent compost from the carrot barrels before planting out.
Sorting the Shallots from the Cat Damage
The next task wasn’t so pleasant. I’d planted my shallots into one of the beds and for some reason a couple of cats had decided it was the ideal toilet, digging up shallots in the process.
They’re my moggies so I can’t say too much. I do realise how annoying cats can be to veg growers but on the other hand, judging by what’s brought in, without the cats we’d only lose the crops to rabbits and mice.
Whilst I was out there, our blind cat came to find out what I was up to. She walked up and down the field a few times, mapping it in her mind, before running up and down at full pelt. I can honestly say that she enjoys life to the full despite her disability. We thought she’d caught a mouse the other day but realised one of our other cats had caught it and given it to her. She doesn’t lack the will, though.
Anyway, bed sorted and some shallots re-planted. I’ve a few spares I popped into 3″ pots and discovered that by the time the shoots are showing, the roots are already circling at the bottom of the pot. I’d not realised just how much root they develop or quite how quickly before. You learn something every day. Covered the bed with some fleece to stop it being disturbed again.
Planting Early Potatoes
I planted three tubers of Rocket, a very early (fast developing) new potato into the bed. I’d used the bed for potatoes last year, so replaced the top six inches of soil with compost, adding some general potato fertiliser. The soil level had dropped anyway, so another six inches of compost went on top of that. Almost as coddled as show potatoes!
The coldframe will keep things warm, growing them on quickly, even if the threatened cold snap arrives. After the mini-summer I can hardly believe the weatherman is using the snow word! If it stays reasonable or gets warm, then the frame without a lid on will shelter the haulm (foliage) from the wind.
Realised I’d forgotten to sow any 100’s & 1,000’s tomatoes. The packet says ‘average content 8 seeds’ but I got a dozen in the pack. Anyway, I can give away excess plants easily enough.
Goodbye My Fork
One piece of sad news, the handle on my digging fork broke whilst tree planting. I’ve had the fork for so long that I can’t remember not having it. The way the handle was fixed in means it cannot be replaced so it’s goodbye to an old pal. Didn’t actually shed a tear but I did feel sad.
Sunday was a lovely day, sunny with blue skies. Not as warm as recent days but pleasant all the same. I’ve got two piles of brushwood from the trimming of the sycamore. The top pile has had all the wood of a thickness worth using on the stove cut out and I decided today was the day to turn it into potash.
I’ve got a dustbin incinerator so it all went into that. There’s something magical about fire, even in an incinerator. Flames leaping up and wood being transformed into ashes. I’m told it’s a man thing, but I resisted the urge to strip off, daub myself with woad and beat drums. Just steadily feeding branches to the flames and thinking of nothing. Lovely way to spend an afternoon.