The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Friday, March 12, 2010

Cold Weather Stops Play - Maybe

A busy time this week in the garden but it looks like I am having a day off today unless the wind drops. But it looks like next week could be all systems go. I hope...

I am keeping a gardening log of dates/time/tasks. This is just of actual 'in the field' so to speak and not taking into account all of my planning activities.

Sunday I was on snowdrop redistribution duty. One clump removed from the rockery area where the heather had swamped them and three clumps removed from 'snowdrop nursery' at the back of the sheds. These were split into about thirty smaller clumps and replanted in the trellis bank, LB4, 5 and 11.

Monday was sorting out the fruit tree bed to be as previously blogged.

Tuesday and I started on the fruit bush pruning. My right hand is now covered in scratches from the gooseberry bushes.

Wednesday and I started on the topsoil sifting and loading into f-t-b-t-b. It was cold, and despite moving the loaded wheel barrow into a sunny spot to remove the weeds and stones I needed frequent breaks to wash and warm my hands back up. I am not sure if I have enough topsoil in my current pile. Allan has promised me some more from his building works but so far no news. I would guess the whole job will be a good week to two weeks to complete, depending on the temperature...

On Wednesday evening Reg supplied me with rhubarb crowns - one large clump and one very large clump that with the help of Paul has been split into two. So yesterday I dug in the overwintered cow muck covering in the veggie patch at the back of the stairs to nowhere, excavated three large holes and planted/almost buried them. Woohoo!

We had been shopping in the morning and I had lifted a couple of the cardboard sheets that were lying around the fruit section. I had bought my seed potatoes from Border Farm Supplies earlier in the week (International Kidney - 1st early Jersey Royals, and King Edwards for main crop) so now they are sitting on the said cardboard in the utility room, hopefully chitting away. I did read a survey a while back that indicated that chitting made very little difference but until I get all the topsoil in there is nowhere to plant them anyway.

I then went back to the fruit bush area to make a concerted attack on the blackcurrant bushes. I have always wimped out in the past but now I had so many branches that were growing on the ground and/or into the gooseberry bushes that drastic action was needed. I lopped out a couple of main stems which helped. I lopped out a few conifer branches that were impeding me getting to the back of the bushes. I then found a couple of rogue gooseberry bushes growing through the blackcurrants so I ruthlessly cut them down to the ground. Once I had pulled their branches out I could see what was happening a lot better. I have now pruned all the low growing branches right back. Three had layer rooted so I salvaged those and heeled them in to a temporary home in the long bank extension. I may also try to make some hardwood cuttings from the prunings. A final going over of the gooseberry bushes now that I could get to the backs of them before Paul called me in as we needed to take the dogs to the vet for their annual check up/jabs.

I spent the evening re-planning my fruit trees. I had to re-measure and draw out the bed as Poncho had eaten my original plan. So the 'now' plan is for twelve vertical cordons around the wall/railings and four 'pyramid trained' trees in the main area. I scrapped the idea of oblique cordons and a fan as it would be too difficult to get wires in place to train the trees. Changing the cherry tree fan to a pyramid bush means I can grow more cordons. So now planning for 8 apple trees, 3 plum trees, 4 pear trees and a sweet cherry, and hopefully an acid cherry fan against Margaret's wall on the other side...

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