Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Treasure and neglect

I had great plans. I also had a vision that the rain would fall at night, we would have sun baked days and my soil would rival a bag of John Innes .
Sadly the weather made records for the wrong reasons, the sun seemed to forget to turn of at night and the rain didn't know how to stop once it started!Since when did we start ordering our climate in bulk?
A little of each in turn works better thanks!
Add the fact that I am just recovering from a serious bout of vertigo and couldn't stand up without help for over a week meant my plot suffered. I decided to hit the plot with a vengeance today and sort things out. The lovely lady of the house and my offspring helped by harvesting the monster marrows that appeared overnight and helpfully informed me of the weed take over. Thanks again...
So, today I have been mostly treasure hunting!
No, it wasn't intentional, I started out with a plan to cut back some of the weeds taking over my sad looking plot, but after the battery ran out on the electric goat I resorted to attacking the jungle at the end of the plot. There is an attractive, well OK, it's ugly but I doubt if I'm allowed to raze it to the ground and burn it, elder tree.It was damaged during a storm some time back and it's hanging limbs were getting in the way, so they came off. Leaving a much higher over hanging healthy branch will hopefully mean elderberry jam or even wine next year as well as providing some useful shade. The ground below, once you get passed the old carpet,copper piping, old plant pots, brambles, ivy,couch grass and Bindweed, is very good soil.I mentioned treasure. I found,after the worst of the work was done, an old handle less hand scythe or grass hook. It was rusted and handle free but it still had an edge and helped clear some of the thicker areas.Come winter, when the leaves have fallen off everything, I will try and tackle the old rowan/hawthorn stump that is valiantly resisting the grim reaper.Not one to throw anything away, there is no 'away', I used the old carpet as a weed suppressant on a recently emptied bed.The old plastic plant trough I will try and use as a planter for my land cress. It has no drainage holes and will serve well providing the type of boggy soil conditions land and water cress love.I cut the stems from the runners and french beans, leaving the runner seed pods to continue drying and composted the tops of the french beans. I'm not yet sure whether to leave the roots in and provide some nitrogen or to lift them. Recent studies have cast some doubt over whether the amount of nitrogen the roots return to the soil is of any significance.The other reason I am questioning it is that I also read/heard/saw that the roots can be treated like dahlia roots. If dug and stored in dry peat over winter, they can be planted out in spring to give a leap start on the next crop.It's got to be worth an experiment!The next question would have to be,can you take cuttings?If so, any keen competition grower should be able to keep a strain of his/her prize winners going for decades!As for prize winners, my super monster marrows ares till cropping like triffids. I saw an older traditional gardener on his plot just as I was deciding to pack up for a drink and food break and thought I could offload,I mean offer, a marrow to him. I'm all for sharing. As it happens, so is he. I came away one marrow lighter and a damn fine bunch of carrots to the better!His secret is racing pigeon sh*t apparently.He keeps them and the loft clearings go in his soil. As it is heavily sand based, it has meant, over more than a decade, good friable deep soil that carrots love. As opposed to my solid clay which my carrots laugh at and turn away from!Aah well, one day.....

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