Sunshine at last

The weather over the weekend was just perfect, which meant we spent about 3 hours working the plot on Saturday morning, and another 3 hours on Sunday morning too, which was even warmer. We may have done even more if we didn’t have the commitment of walking the dog after lunch – 3 hours of digging, then a 2 hour dog walk, shattered isn’t quite the word! It was blissfully quiet down there too, surprisingly. I think most of the surrounding plots now belong to retired folk who go down during the week and have the weekends off. Lucky them.

So the plot wasn’t actually in bad shape after the winter. Not muddy at all, a few weeds but nothing major, nothing damaged or stolen thankgod. John dug out what was left of the carrots and parsnips (a big carrier bag full of each) and weeded around the overwintering onions, garlic and what is left of the leeks. I’ve given the onions and garlic a dusting of blood, fish and bonemeal fertiliser, I find they do better with a spring feed to kickstart them. So that’s most of the top end sorted!

And between us we’ve dug most of the bottom end too. It’s a good feeling – except for the aching back and leg muscles.

As I’d hoped, the daffodils have started to come through. They’re a bit slow to get started, but hopefully they’ll put on a spurt in this warm weather.

The blackberry has had a number 1 all over. You are supposed to cut back those stems that fruited last year, and tie in the new growth. But it was such a mess that I couldn’t really work out what was what, and decided to just cut the whole thing right back. Looking at it now, common sense tells me the greener stems are the newer growth, and the darker ones the older woody stems, so I may have to re-do this a bit better.

In the foreground is a bucket of couch grass (or twitch grass) roots and bindweed roots that I dug out from the bottom section. I could easily fill another two buckets. I’ve covered it in water to drown it before I add it to the compost – it would survive and continue to grow otherwise. Interestingly the top half of the plot, which has been cultivated more, is pretty clear now of the pernicious weeds. It has taken 4 years, but it shows that you can (chemically free) battle the likes these weeds eventually.

Look at that innocent face …

… this was her contribution to the weekends hard labour. Not very impressive frankly. She spent more time sun worshipping from what I could see. That and telling us about each and every person coming through the main gates. Thanks Bess!

I also planted a couple of rows of broad beans, and John cut back the autumn raspberry canes. I now need to draw up a plan of what to put where. There’s still plenty to do, but it’s a pretty good start.

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