Grass & Greenhouse

The track up to the house here has a large, well I was going to say lawn but grassed area is a better description with trees dotted around. Hopefully, in another five years or so, we’ll have a bit of a shelter belt as the trees grow.

Lawn Area by Track

Lawn Area by Track, dotted with trees

The one thing that does do really well here is grass, for which the sheep are very grateful, but it means that if you don’t keep mowing regularly the grass is out of control very quickly.

I’m fortunate in that we’ve got a really good lawnmower. It’s a petrol driven rotatory with powered drive. It also offers a side discharge as well as a large grass box so the way to tackle overgrown areas is to go over with the side discharge, rake up the grass and then go over again with the box on.

Grass cutting mulch

Grass cutting mulched area to rear of greenhouse, sycamore in background.

Once the level is down, reduce the cutting height and run over again. Suffice to say that it was a good day’s work to turn it back into a neat(ish) lawn again. The cuttings were enough to mulch a patch 8′ by 16′ a good foot thick behind the greenhouse. That will keep the weeds from growing. In the autumn I’ll be planting a blackberry and a tayberry there.

Whilst the south of England was moaning about roasting in the burning sun on Friday, we had rain. I still got a few hours outside though, in the greenhouse. It was actually really pleasant in there, warm enough and dry with the sound of the rain pattering down on the glass.

constructing border edge

Greenhouse border edging under construction

Before I lay the slabs up the centre of the greenhouse, I’m putting in an edge for the border to stop the soil getting all over the path. I find a border really useful in a greenhouse. Firstly, if you plant tomatoes into a border they have as much root run as they want and borders hold water for longer than pots or growbags.

Borders are useful for other crops as well, everything from saladings to forced carrots. You do need to invest some time getting a good depth of soil in the border and quality of course. Some growers go in for lasagne beds in greenhouses, but I’m not convinced that’s a good idea.

The other drawback of a border is that you need to dig out a portion of the soil and replace with fresh every couple of years. They can be a disease reservoir as well. Of course, in the worst case, you can rest the soil by growing in pots and growbags laid on top of the border for a year.


Greenhouse border edge finished, ready for sand for slab base

Border edge finished, got a layer of sand laid down ready to bed the slabs on. It does seem that the work goes slowly, these jobs taking more time than I expected but on the other hand, I’ve done more than just the greenhouse structure.

The tomatoes were side-shooted again and tied in to the canes, the aubergine and cucumber potted on and Val picked up some bargain pepper plants that needed potting on a couple of weeks ago.

Behind the greenhouse there was a sycamore that we had to cut down to a six foot high stump come pollard as it was rotten and about to fall down. It’s reacted by throwing up loads of shoots and bushing up like a triffid on steroids. I cut it back which produced quite a pile and shredded the cuttings.

It never fails to amaze me how a massive pile of woody cuttings or hedge clippings will shred down to just a small pile. No rain predicted until Tuesday so it looks like another good day on the plot tomorrow.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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