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


Sunday, August 22, 2010

LB8 - The Start

Wanting to plant my new saxifrage Silver Velvet in the LBE bed under the wall meant that I had the motivation I needed to finish that bed off. As it was it only took a couple of hours yesterday as Penny had done most of the leg work for me earlier in the year, removing the stones and forking it over. I really only needed to weed it, dig it over with my hand trowel and then define the edge and line it with some of my many stones. It still needed more topsoil added to it to really finish it off, but not as much as the rest did - for a start we did not find any piles of bricks buried there unlike the part along LB9. It was duly christened with the planting of the saxifrage and the erodium to keep it company.

So on to LB8 proper.

I decided to start at the bottom. First task, as always, was to remove the surface stones. A bucket load and I was ready to start digging out the clay that is solid a couple of inches below the surface at the bottom. I was progressing well but two hours in and the weather changed so I called it a day. Back out this afternoon, with Penny helping for a while. A couple of metres completed and I have now started working my way up, joining up with LB9. A few bucket loads of soil have been relocated to the top, another couple should be enough to finish that off. Paul came out to get the two large rocks in place, the one under the bucket being the monolith we had dug out of the f-t-b-t-b last year and the dark grey one was amongst our freecycle top soil. I am almost ready for another where the trowel is, but I decided to stop when I noticed the midges coming - not sure if I have escaped unharmed but I already have so many bites I don't want to risk more...

It is hard to judge how much I have still to go, but I guess I have done somewhere between 10 and 15%. I have already exceeded my original target for the LBE this year so my new target is to complete up to the top from what I have done today, and maybe the clay removal and cobble stone edging all the way along. I will need to apply more weed killer as I have spotted some more ground elder coming through on the remaining weed patch.

On other gardening matters I reached profit on the veggie patch last week, mainly thanks to the free potatoes and rhubarb. I harvested my first cabbage today - four veggies (cabbage, runner beans, purple dwarf beans and peas) with Sunday lunch today not to mention the first dug King Edward potatoes.

I have now ordered an apple tree collection from Adam's Apples. Ten apple trees to grow as vertical cordons with a mix of cookers, eaters and dual purpose that are suitable for growing here. I specified a couple of varieties that I wanted but am leaving the rest up to the expert. The man was very helpful when I phoned and they are extremely competitively priced. He asked why I was wanting to grow them as vertical cordons and I explained that the bed I am planting has a low wall with a metre of railing on top and I am planning to use the railings as their stakes. He has suggested starting them as vertical cordons and then train them horizontally along the top of the railings. I suppose I could even try planting them as oblique cordons, still using the railings to train them. They start delivering in January, but will wait for me to say when I am ready for them which has taken a worry from me - if we have another winter like this year I could not plant before March. I now have to decide on what other fruit trees I want...

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