Muck. It’s everywhere, it’s on my wellies, it has stained my socks, it’s encrusted into my favourite black jeans, it’s lodged under my fingernails, it’s in my hair. It’s all over the car, it’s on the floor of the house, I’ve even mysteriously found some in my bed. Thankfully, that’s not the only bed it’s in, it’s also in my raised beds, which as of today, are all finally full of soil. We’ve spent the past week hauling soil back and forward in wheelbarrows for the beds. I’ve had some help doing this, Dave and my friend Mark have been helping me with it, nothing like having a couple of men around to help with the lifting, without them, it would have taken me three times as long as it did. All in all, It took about sixty trips back and forth with the wheelbarrow. We sieved the soil into the beds and added compost. The plot looks very different now with the beds filled and it means I can get a lot more planting done in the coming weeks, which is ideal as it’s planting season.
The weather this week has been drastically different to last weeks glorious sunshine. It has been cold, grey and miserable with strong winds and ground frosts, we even had some light snow and hail. I didn’t make it to the plot much this week, thankfully I’d had the foresight to cover my peas and other crops with some horticultural fleece on Monday, hopefully this will have protected them from the frost. My rhubarb was not lucky enough to escape the weather, It got battered in the wind and when we finally made it down to the plot today, two of my rhubarb plants had been damaged. Hopefully they’ll recover.
Myself and Dave got quite a lot done today. We filled the sixth bed with topsoil and rejoiced that they were finally all done! I’m hoping to add in four more later in the year when I’ve harvested my potatoes and onions, but, for now, no more wheelbarrowing and hopefully no more sieving! I also filled my small raised bed today and planted some strawberries. I covered them with fleece for tonight to try to protect them from the wind, it will probably do no good but it’s worth a try. I’ll put some netting around them in a few weeks to protect them from birds, who cannot resist eating the fruit. I also planted three raspberry plants. I drove two stakes into the ground and ran three lengths of wire between them, this will act as a support for the bushes, which they need as they get bigger.
I planted some swiss chard and perpetual spinach. I planted a variety of chard called “bright lights” which has beautiful, multi-coloured stalks and should bring a lovely splash of colour to the plot. Perpetual spinach is very similar to annual spinach, however, it is far easier to grow and less likely to bolt. These two plants are also known as leaf beets and are should be treated the same as beetroot. For this reason, I included these in the root section of my crop rotation. Three of each of these plants are more than enough for a family and if taken care of, will crop for a year.
I’ve noticed quite a few weeds popping up the past couple of weeks, especially in my potato bed. They are only tiny stalks at the moment and I’m pretty sure a lot of them are actually grass seedlings. I’ve been keeping these in check as much as possible by pricking them out while they are still young shoots. Today, while checking my potato bed for weeds, I noticed that a few of my potato plants had popped their heads above soil. I’m very pleased, this is the first thing to grow on the plot, everything else I’ve grown so far has been in pots at home. It’s rewarding to see the hard work pays off and even though there’s still a lot of work to do, at least I already have something growing. My onions are starting to grow too, I’ve noticed a few green shoots poking out of the bulbs.
I’ve also been busy planting at home. My lovely Mam gave me some sunflower seeds. She gave me four different varieties, including one called “Teddy Bear” which looks particularly nice. I planted these in 5 inch pots and they are sitting on a sunny windowsill while they germinate. I also planted some sage, which, surprisingly, germinated within a few days. My other herbs are doing well in my little greenhouse and should be ready to plant out in another three/four weeks. My marigold are growing strong and my tomato and chilli plants are coming along nicely too.
The next week will be a busy one on the plot. I have plans to dig out a new flower bed and I need to tidy the place up, particularly the pathways. The back of the plot needs a good dig and hopefully in a few weeks I might get a small shed. I need to build a new gate too, the one we made last week didn’t last long unfortunately, these things happen though and next time I’ll go about it a different way. The wood didn’t go to waste though, I used it to build a small fence around my asparagus bed to stop anyone from treading on it.
All in all, it’s been a productive week despite the weather. I ‘ll most likely spend a good few hours on the plot again tomorrow, make the most of the weekend. Hope you all enjoy the bank holiday weekend.