Garden 3013 no 1; 03.01.13.

It feels so good to write that…. GARDEN 2013 NO 1

This will be brief, obviously there is not a lot to do or to see in a garden in January but the there are two things I find worth celebrating. The first is that I was well enough to brave the January cold for about an hour and go outside to the garden. The second is that once out there, I saw tiny signs of new growth. My fruit bushes are in bud. It’s early, and spring is still a long way off but it’s reassuring to see the bushes in bud ready for the spring. I did very little, I picked up some rubbish that had blown into the garden, clipped a few blackberry runners off before they embedded themselves into the ground, raked over the soil to level it off after the recent rain and wind, threw some spring bulbs into the ground and then threw handfuls of soil on top. (I’m not sure they will actually do any thing but I had forgotten about them and they spent the winter in a bucket in the shed). I’ve nothing to lose, the bulbs weren’t going to do any thing in the shed and even if they do nothing this year, they will be nicely buried into the ground by next year.

On the plus side, I’ve caught a lot of the water that’s been falling from the sky. My water butt is full to overflowing and the various buckets and bins around the garden are also rapidly filling. I’m thinking of using the wormery I bought a couple of years ago as a second water butt. I didn’t have much luck using it as a wormery because all the worms died. I think it’s too cold here to keep worms outside and the bin has been cleaned and stored in the shed, it's ideal because it has a tap on the bottom. I think I’m going to adapt it and use it as a second water butt, seems a shame to throw all this water away when it could be used to water the garden s next summer.
But for now, it was so nice to spend an hour outside.

Garden 2013 no 2; 23.02.13

Last weekend I spent a whole hour in the garden, one whole hour. Not that I did very much but it was good to get out there. First thing was to empty the shed and put it all back in some sort of order. I’ve been thinking about my old bike recently and when I was sorting out the shed I dragged the bike out from the back. It’s not ‘ridable’ at the moment but I don’t think it needs a lot doing to it, new inner tubes for the tyres and maybe some new brake cables and that should be it. The chrome handlebars have lost their shine and are rusty but I guess I could clean them up. I’m still not convinced I would be safe riding even if I did get the bike sorted, but I have someone who knows someone so it shouldn’t actually cost me vey much to get this bike of mine back to road worthiness and then I’ll give it a go. There is only one way to find out if I can still ride safely and that’s to try.

After the shed was sorted I turned my attention to the ‘water’. We have a lot of water here, but even so I don’t like to waste it. I have one smallish water butt that’s full and I also have a collection of old buckets and containers scattered around the garden. These are in various stages of ‘full’. The empty wormery has been in the shed ever since the worms died and the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to use it as another water container. I always thought it would come in useful, and now it has. It’s full of rainwater ready to water my plants in the dry season, if we ever get a dry season. I still have buckets lying around the garden, I like to collect as much water as I can, we have so much of the stuff fall from the sky and I really hate seeing all that good water flowing down the drains and being wasted

I had a general tidy up, spread chicken poo pellets over the veggie plot in readiness for my shallots, picked up all the littler that had blown in off the street and checked out the new spring growth. So far I have Snow Drops and Dwarf Iris in flower and I’m sure the daffs will be there soon. Now all I need it the opportunity to dig over the plot and plant the shallots which I’ve already bought.

Like I said I didn’t do much, but it’s a good feeling to know the garden is starting up again.

Garden 2013 no 3; 17.03.13.

My garden is the only cloud on my horizon, except the many rain clouds that constantly hang over it. We had a wee window of opportunity in January/ February when the sun shone and the ground was dry. I did go out there a couple of times and began getting the garden ready for planting, but before I could actually plant any thing, the window closed. First we had snow, wind and ice and that gradually dissolved into steady rain. Now I find myself half way through March, nothing in the ground, the shallots and garlic should have gone in by now but I haven’t even done the prep digging. It has rained on and off for a couple of weeks, the ground has never dried out enough to get any thing done and I’m seriously behind with every thing. I’m not sure how long it will take me after eye surgery to be well enough to start gardening.
But…………..the need to be positive tells me maybe a year off growing will do the soil good and things like lettuce, radish, nasturtium, rocket, the what I call ‘pick and eat collection’ can go in any time and usually only take about 6 weeks before they are ready. I find myself looking for frogspawn every day and worrying that the ice has prevented the frogs from spawning, I hope not, I loved watching the little tadpoles last year. I found the clump of frogspawn on March 10th last year but no sign of it yet this year. I’m spending most of May in France so I guess the modified plan must be to utilize containers as much as possible and plant things before I go that will be ready when I get back.
But, since I have nothing of interest to report on my garden, I thought I would share a link passed onto me by my sister.

My sister has alerted me to a fantastic ‘new’……………not exactly new but new to us, garden blog. As far as I can see this lady is doing every thing right. I especially love her post about composting. She composts just about every thing from dog poo (somehow I’ve never liked the idea of composting ‘poo’ but maybe I’m wrong). to egg shells and she does it every where from pits in the garden to little pots that she plants directly into. I also found the post on garlic interesting. I’ve book marked her site, joined the site and intend to visit regularly, recommend any one who is interested in gardening does the same.

Garden 3013 no 4; 26. 03. 13.

The picture says it all. The shallots are IN and hopefully we will have pickled onions for Christmas. There was a window of opportunity this morning, having studied the weather forecast as if my life depended on it I knew there would be a few hours this morning free from snow and rain with an average temp of between 2c and 3c . I grabbed the opportunity and was out there by 9.30. By 11.30 the blue sky disappeared and huge snowflakes fell from above. But my task was already complete. I dug, I fertilized, I dug again and I planted. I have 4 rows of 15 sets, last year each one separated into about 5 / 6 individual shallots, if I'm lucky I should get about 80+, more than enough for every one. My favourite gardening book says shallots should be planted out in March before the last frost……..think I can guarantee I’ve not missed the last frost.