Chicken shit..

In the aftermath of tree-mageddon, I went out this morning to make some progress on winter prep and to get some stuff in t’ground. This is the new view from the vegetable patch towards the house. You’ll notice that where there was once a whopping great big tree there is now a stump and a big pile of future firewood. It’s a lot clearer. We loved Oakie and agonised for a long time over the it, but overall I think we’ve made the right decision.

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It’s fair to say the neighbours are quite pleased and I’m not surprised – they’ve gone from having a line of 50 foot trees to having full exposure. Aren’t we good to them! So – below is the pano for the post-work vegetable area. As usual the progress isn’t necessarily obvious… Working left to right, I re-planted a couple of the raspberry posts and tied the raspberry canes back a bit. I picked a decent bowlful of raspberries (still – at this time of year!) and mulched around the bases of them. In re-planting the stake at the far end, I must have dug up about 5 tiles-worth of broken tiles. Definitely a fork job! I put some more mulch around the lilac trees at the back – the lower branches of these need some trimming I think – that’s a job for next week. (click to get the full panoramic effect, as usual.)

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I dug some compost into the bed-formerly-known-as-the-strawberry-patch and had to pile some of the earth up against the remaining strawberries as it’s getting quite full and would have been pretty humpy. I might have to re-distribute some to somewhere. It’s good quality – not too weedy & plenty of worms. This weeks evening task is to research setting up a wormery so I might be able to use some for that. We were given a wormery as a wedding gift (from Steve’s Essex Uni chums I think) but the worms died in transit to it never really got going. We still have the barrel with the tap at the bottom so I think we can work some free-fertiliser magic with that… I’ve now planted 4 rows of onions – 2 rows of white & 2 rows of red. The red ones are called “Red Winter” so if they fail because they’ve been planted at the wrong time of year I’ll be wanting my money back! Let’s see what happens, eh?! There were some sets which have started to sprout already which, I understand from the RHS site, makes them more likely to flower and thus make rubbish eating onions. My plan is to plant these & let them go to seed and then I’ll have some onion seeds to start a new crop with. Yes, it’s a long game, but at £1.99 for 20 sets, if I can get them for free I’m going to consider it a bonus 🙂

There were some accidental potatoes growing next to the rhubarb, so I lifted & split them up to hopefully increase yield a little. Some bit the dust in the meantime but I don’t think we’re going to be short. I very nearly inadvertently planted some with the onions which came from the compost, so I have some teeny tiny potatoes which might seed at some point. I also have a plan to build up the soil along their little row to try to increase yield yet again – so maybe this is a good destination for the excess soil from the other bed.

My friend Ken who, among MANY other things keeps chickens brought us some chicken manure last weekend, so my final job was to dig some of this into what I’m going to refer to as the spring planting bed. Apparently this stuff is so strong that you need to leave at least a month after spreading for the chemicals to bed in, or water lots daily. My plan is to clear the second half of this bed and dig it in there – and then not plant anything until the spring. And, as it apparently gets very smelly when damp, my plan is to stay well away from it when it’s raining… It was all a really good workout, and I really enjoyed just pottering.

I’m thinking that we may need to come up with some names for the various veggie patches so I’ll apply my brain to thinking of something appropriately themed… But while we only have 2 beds it’s not really urgent!

My plan for next week includes lifting & dividing the rhubarb, planting some over-winter broad beans (omnomnom!) and further clearing of the spring planting bed. You heard it here first, folks!

This evening will be some crochet and a project involving this:

…for a family who use re-useable plastic bags we sure do have a lot at the moment…