Sunday, 1 March 2009

The second cutting

It's here!

The new lawn mower has arrived! Well, I say arrived, I went and collected it,along with my mother in law who bought it for me, from the local Homebase. It's a four wheeled beast, all in plastic green and black, with height adjustment and a collection box. I know it's not a mighty shiny red Mountfield or some such prestigious marque but it is a fine machine and it does the job pretty well.
It was a bit of a welcome jigsaw puzzle to make but not as bad as some flat pack furniture I've known!
It did a good,not too noisy job of cutting down the front lawn, which, as you will know, has been uncut for a few weeks now.
I found myself with all the enthusiasm of a car fan driving his newest purchase. I must have been in the watery winter sun too long! So I've posted the obligatory pictures, one Top Gear shot included.
In the garden itself, other than ranting about my neighbours disgusting landfill site of a plot, I have been busy with a spring tidy up. I've cleared the space around the Bamboo and stripped the lower leaves. This gives it a better appearance and ,along with thinning out some straggling shoots, allows for more clean air to circulate around the new growth and keep disease at bay. It may seem odd to savage a good plant like this but remember, in the wild, the native animals would be doing this.
The rambling rose is shooting now after I pruned it before the frosts, the Hebes are starting to flower, although they never seem to stop flowering in my garden. The bulbs are poking their tips through the dark soil as if they are miners reaching for the sun after a winter below ground.
Indoors, I sowed some seeds for an early start in sectioned trays of number 2 John Innes compost. Tomatoes,Leeks,Sweet Peppers and Sweet Corn. I also sowed some seeds from a fresh Butternut squash my wife had made soup from. She dried the seed in a paper towel, placed in a warm place then I sowed them like any packet seed. Much to my surprise, they germinated like weeds within three days on the windowsill under a cloche cover.
On the plot, where I like to spend most of my gardening time, I have finished another couple of raised beds, stacked up more stable manure for rotting down and spread some of last years compost on one of the beds. I collected my seed potatoes from the Trading Hut on site and will start the earlies off chitting soon.
I picked up some onion sets over the winter and planted them and some shallots out last month. I can see signs of growth on them already, despite the snow.
Today, I sowed early peas, a second sowing of broad beans and two rows of carrots. I filled half a row with the remaining mooli seeds from last year. I won't need a great amount of them. Hot radishes the size and shape of large main crop carrots go along way!
I sowed one of my favourite looking veg too, Spinach Beet.
It looks like a large rhubarb leaf, is related to the beetroot family and can be cooked like spinach without shrinking, or the stems can be eaten like cooked celery. When very young, the leaves are added to salad leaf mixes.
Lunchtime came too soon today and I left in a rush but I will be trying to make use of every minute of day light from now on.

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