April 2006

New in this month? Quite a lot actually!

Fruit bushes (gooseberry & blackcurrant), artichokes, spring onions, swiss chard, more potatoes, broccoli & lots more. Oh, & rhubarb. Met the gentleman with the plot next door to me, where he has a magnificent display of about 40 rhubarb plants. I thought of complimenting him on them & leaving a pregnant pause... enough time for him to say something like 'well, why don't you help yourself to as many stems as you want, I can't use them all'. Images of rhubarb crumble, rhubarb wine... but I chickened out & settled for raising my own. Will be weeks before I need to warm up the custard.

Started the month by finishing off the fence. Didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would. Then got carried away (I keep forgetting that when I started in January I'd settled for developing only half the plot this year) & hired a rotavator for Good Friday to turn over the rest of the plot. Huge beast of a machine which had special grips so you could turn it around on the same principle as a tank. The thing was delivered at 8:30am & it was 1:30pm before we knew who was boss... fortunately me given I'd shelled out £50, but it was a close run thing up til then. Didn't really get deep enough because the soil was so thick with clay, but it's a start & the main benefit was I dug up the remaining bramble roots & got rid of the weeds. Looked much more tidy.

Decided I could plant peas, beans & tomatoes in the area cleared and spent a couple of sessions gathering & setting up poles down one side. See picture to the right (double click to enlarge). The principle is that I don't need to cultivate the whole area, but just dig a reasonable sized hole for each plant to get them established. Then they'll grow like crazy up the poles. Should create great tunnels for the grandchildren to run up & down in. I've still got to tie cross beams in to strengthen the set up.

Started to think seriously about buying a shed. Besides saving me carting lots of things up to the plot & back every visit, would give me an opportunity of getting my own water supply. I've decided on a 6'x4' pent roofed wooden shed. This type of roof will mean I can gather all the rain that lands on the roof with just one set of guttering. Can get one for under £200, but not committed yet.
Really nice surprise when Barry & Sammy arrived about 8:00am this morning. Barry had a couple of bags of compost to deposit on his bed. I was wheelbarrowing some spare soil from the free area at the back of the plot & got Sammy to guard the space in the fence, stick in hand, against kamikaze rabbits while I was going back & forth through. Kept him occupied for a while.
Can already see seedlings appearing from planting I carried out in the middle of the month. The picture above shows swiss chard after about 2 weeks. By the end of May I'll know whether I have more vegetables than I can shake a bottle of salad cream at or not.
Catch up with me in a few weeks time! Thanks, John

Looking much more business like now... have a look in the January 2006 posting to see what progress made since it was a wilderness!

Onions showing well, but lots of other signs of life as well.

Barry's bed looking good, waiting for its occupants.

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