Saturday, 4 April 2009

Busy in the garden

Why aren't there more hours in the day? I am going flat out just to stand still at the moment as there is so much to do outside. My fault, my husband tells me - I have made a rod for my own back because I have widened the herbaceous border in the front garden and because of my "intake" area in the paddock. Since February (I started in January, but ice and snow stopped play) I have been gradually been cutting back, mattocking, digging, weeding, removing nettle and bramble roots, and then planting up a new soft fruit area MUCH bigger than my existing one. I did have an overflow area of blackcurrants, and two redcurrants and an escapee gooseberry bush, but now I have planted about 40 raspberry canes (many of them autumn fruiting), a couple more gooseberries, about a dozen blackcurrants and redcurrants - the former home grown, the latter boughten. I have bought and planted a Jostaberry, a lovely Autumn Gold raspberry, a potted cranberry and about to transplant a blueberry, and transplanted dozens of young strawberry plants. Over on the original plot I have added more rhubarb crowns, two tayberries and just transplanted some more autumn fruiting raspberries which were threatening to take over the main veg. plot.

I have resurrected the original herb bed, which surprisingly still had its original inhabitants, despite having Fahly-horse walking over it all winter for the last 6 years (bar last). I have transplanted the inhabitants of my raised herb bed and that is "supposed" to be turned into a plastic-covered greenhouse, but I am waiting on my husband for that . . . and I know him of old - he has a PhD in procrastination . . .

I have planted young fruit trees either side of the pathway - several pears, a Victoria Plum, a Cox's Pippin apple and moved a very well grown Bay tree to the end (it looks like it is surviving). There is still much to do, but we have made good progress. Of course, with the downsizing planned for next year, I am doing this for the incoming family, but I shall enjoy it this year and I think it's a good selling point - the "Good Life" and self-sufficiency and all that . . .

Towards the beginning, when all I had done was clear the bramble brakes, lay the weed suppressant membrane for the path, and put the fruit trees in.

How it is now, with autumn bliss raspberries in the foreground; strawberries - including under the plastic cloche; summer raspberries to their right; young black- and red-currants behind that and established blackcurrants and gooseberries to the right.

Herb bed between the two fruit trees, and foreground shows one end of the first potato plot. The right hand half of the plot will be mostly spuds and perhaps some beans this year, if I get the digging done in time. Ignore Next Door's shabby shed (we do!). Another job to be done is to move the piles of grassy builder's sand and duff which are at the base of our wall. I intend to put tubs of flowers along here.

This is the original soft fruit garden with the transplanted autumn bliss raspberries and tayberries/loganberry the other side of the blue baling twine. Out of sight are 4 well grown gooseberry bushes and some Japanese Wineberries.

Right, I can't put off the digging ANY longer . . .

7 comments:

Wild Somerset Child said...

Oh what hard work, but isn't it enjoyable when space is cleared and things planted? I guess we are both on garden reclamation this Spring. What sort of soil do you have? Best of luck; I shall follow your progress with great interest.

Rowan said...

I don't know how you do it Jennie. You'll reap the rewards later this summer when you have all your lovely fruit though.

nancy said...

Beating back the jungle again, Jennie! It will be wonderful, though. You've thought of some wonderful planting patterns. Your gardens seem to go on forever!

Morning's Minion said...

I would just love to be there and to help with the digging and planting. We had a power tiller for years, but I could never start it--if someone else got it going it usually dragged me all over the garden. If I could enveigle anyone else to till a bit, then I could grub and plant to my heart's content. And then creak and groan as the aftermath!

thelma said...

The problem with more and more fruit is that you have to store it as well Jennie. We rack our apples on wooden slates in the basement, but the mice got in last year, and once one apple goes, the rest follow pretty quickly...

Elizabeth Rhiannon said...

I love your garden blogging as I must live vicariously through you and other blogging gardeners because I have very dry, nutrient deficient soil (if you can even call it that) and rocks. I long to garden again! Tend to your back and keep up the good work!

Bovey Belle said...

Well, my soil is heavy clay on top of shale bedrock - NOT conducive to easy gardening and it needs a lot of No. 1 muckheap to help it along. Elizabeth - sounds like your garden needs lots of TLC and muck heap too!

It is lovely to be able to crack on with it properly again, instead of trying to fit it in between the horses and up till 2 years ago, nursing my mum.

Thelma - we had ours in boxes out in one of the stables last winter, and they lasted quite well, except the birds discovered them and helped themselves when winter was at its worst, but I don't begrudge them.

Sharon - wish you were nearer as I could do with another digger. I was offered a tiller (needed fixing) but my husband said I'd never manage it for the same reasons as you gave!

Nancy - we have another half an acre of paddock we could transform into more garden, but I'm not very tempted - my back complaineth!

Rowan - I do it as I am The Head Gardener here and my dear husband will only help when I am in a lather on the doorstep begging for his muscles!

WSC - I love the look of your garden but think it is fairly labour-intensive, like mine. It's not so bad when you keep on top of them, but mine would rather revert to the wild and become a thicket of weeds and ash trees!