Chat,  Gardening

April 2020

Seems ages since my last monthly update, I’m finding lockdown throws out my sense of time. Weeks blur together without the normal routine of school and work.

I can’t complain, despite my work drying up completely we’re still okay as a family and I know there are a lot in a worse off position. Moving to this house last year has given us more space so we aren’t under each others feet and the garden keeps me sane.

I have been working on a couple of crochet projects this month, both shawls in a purple cotton have had in my stash for a few years. The first aptly uses the Virus pattern and the second Wild wheat.

Wild Wheat Shawl – in progress

As you can see I haven’t been spending much time with a crochet hook, so what have I been doing?

Like many I’ve been doing a lot more home cooking and baking than normal. It’s something I do anyway but with having more time I’ve been able to bake without feeling rushed. I also find there’s less waste, it appears my family place value on home-cooked food.

My phone is full of recipe bookmarks at the moment, so I’m adding my favourites here as I work through them and also marking down any tweaks I may make.

My other main pastime is the garden, and that’s what the rest of this post is about…

I started the month thinning out a border in the front garden. As much as I love bluebells this patch was smothering the other plants.

3 weeks on the remaining bluebells are in full bloom and the other plants are looking in better shape.

The next are to take was a flower bed in the back garden, it takes a quarter circle out of the lawn and I didn’t pay it much attention when we moved in last autumn.

The soil was very compacted and there was a a lot of moss and the start of some couch grass. I’d been given a rotary riddle for my birthday primarily for sorting the compost but it said on the box it could be used for weeding.

So feeling enthusiastic I decided to lift the plants, take up the top few inches of soil, riddle it, remove the weeds, return the soil, then clean up the plant roots and replant. Simple!

It took over 5 hours! 2 wheelbarrow full, which worked out at about 5 compost bags of soil and at least 6 buckets of weeds. But not a single weed has poked through in the 3 weeks it’s been completed. (That comment will have jinxed it)

Next job was the long border down the left hand side. Again the bluebells were rioting which would be fine in the flower bit but also under the fruit bushes which I needed to clear of horsetail and couch grass.

I suppose I should be grateful that the two pernicious weeds are claiming separate stretches so I only have to deal with one at a time. I vary the area I work on depending on which I feel able to face.

I’m about 2/3rds of the way through, including moving more rhubarb to near the gate thanks to discovering an immovable spike just under the surface. I couldn’t lift it so there’s a rhubarb right on top of it now.

I’ve added some strawberry plants in front of the blackberry and blueberry, the loganberry didn’t make it through the winter

The gooseberry is looking well as it the redcurrant, and that’s as far as I’ve got with the weeding at that end.

I needed a break from horsetail so then did a quick tidy up at the other end, I actually need to add bluebells to this end. I’m really happy with the climbers as I butchered them back last year.

The middle section, where the remaining rhumbaed and raspberry canes are is choked with couch grass, It’s going to take patience to shift it and that will be an ongoing project during May (and June, July…..)

I’ve spent most of April hovering over the veg patch like a broody hen waiting for the potatoes to make an appearance, I should have watered them sooner during the dry spell we had but they are making it up for it in this last week, and the onions are sprouting nicely too.

The next job is to give the final quarter in front of the greenhouse another dig over ready for planting.

The first earlies have started to flower in the greenhouse so my main problem is holding out long enough before lifting some. The carrot seeds and salad have started to make an appearance.

I’ve got most of my seedlings in the house to speed them up, including some watercress (from a salad bag) I rooted in water.

Almost round the garden now, just the 2 wild patches either side of the garage

The thin border to the left is being left (apart from pulling horsetail) as there’s still some work left for the garage.

The larger section on the right has some of the Seedball seeds starting to grow and the buddleja has settled in well. I’ve started a woodpile next to it for insects and the hedgehog house and insect house will be placed again after the work on the garage is finished.