Sunday, 21 October 2012

'Garlic and sapphires in the mud...'

The past few days,after a very welcome blast of Swaledale, have been occupied in taking down the redundant coldframes, and starting to construct a raised bed to contain some of our stock plants that will get swamped as the shrubs in the borders get even larger.As it will lie alongside the path to the house, and, if we ever open the nursery,will be the first thing a visitor would see, we have decided to make a proper job of it, and build it using green oak sleepers rather than recycled boards.Unfortunately, these weigh a ton, and I have to use the forks on the tractor to move them into position:heavy rain and the action of the four wheel drive have created a fine sea of mud.

Once I get all the sleepers in place we will fork over the ground, mixing in ballast for drainage.I then plan to import a peat free compost and topsoil mix to add to the farmyard manure that we already have in stock. having done all that, Elizabeth will be able to plant the subjects languishing in pots by the back door.

The cattle are still out at grass, but the gateways are muddy, and I'll have to get them in.Before that,I will order a load of chalk for the yard floors, and spend a day replacing broken boards.

Work in progress

Sunday, 7 October 2012

'...Garden and trees,heel over into darkness...'

Not quite as grim as this Northumbrian lament may imply, but it has been rather wet, just under two inches in the first week of October.Strangely and worryingly, the soil just below the surface is still dry. I n my last post I bemoaned the hardness of the seedbed:the grass mix was drilled, and the wildflower seeds were broadcast. Heavy rain the day after drilling-fortunately the grass seed didn't drown, and there's now a distinct velvety sheen. Not sure about the flowers though:patience will be a virtue in this case.

The animals are still outside,though the gateways are suffering from the wet. There's still a lot of grass about, though we'll soon start feeding some hay.Plant sales are more or less over for the season,although it is the best time of year to plant  perennials people don't seem keen to get out into the garden this time of year.

We've ordered another small polytunnel to house more stock overwinter, and I've spent time dismantling redundant coldframes and building more layingout beds with the salvaged timber. My next job is to build a large stockbed where the coldframes were to maintain our stockplants, which are in danger of being swamped in the garden borders.