Putting the potager to bed part two

listNow that’s better. I never was one for bare soil. But the story of how this large vegetable garden is now properly tucked up for winter required help.

Help in the form of hired help.  I was very lucky to have a Nicolas day yesterday.

Which reminds me of the glee in Aunty Ruth voice when she was looking forward to her gardener day. I can’t remember his name. Stewart? Michael? (Robyn will remind me.) He worked for so many people on Mount Irvine. And for all I know he still is.compost sample

He was a hard worker but could only spare her a day in the garden once a month or so. And I know the feeling. You start building up your list and your wish list and wait with such anticipation.

In my case even more so as I my sciatica means I can’t bend without yelping.  So some of the things on the list are dumb stuff like – move all pots, help drag the grass from the lower terraces.  And Nicolas was happy to muck in.

His real skills lie elsewhere – pruning and wall building. But today I really needed him to get all the gorgeous compost frocompost being appliedm behind the potting shed down to the vegetable garden. A long trudge with heavy loads.

But I was so thriled by the thought that all my garden beds would have proper home made compost for the first time in years.  We never give them enough. It’s just not possible in a domestic setting to create enough.

But in a monster garden this size I just need to find a corner and heap all the weeds up.  And then neglect them.

My pile has been neglected for about two years. (I’m going to devote a separate post to the compost bin; I bet you can’t wait for that.) And as a result I have gorgeous rich garden compost ready to go somewhere. But not hauled by me.DSC05585

I had to work fast as Nicolas zips about.  The first job was to get the huge sack (25kg) of pelleted lime out of the car and haul it down close to the beds.

I lime my soil as we are super acidic and vegetable gardens just prefer it more neutral. So I flung the stuff about like confetti while Nicolas came behind lobbing on box after box of the garden compost.

You can see the difference in colour between the weeded soil and the lighter brown stuff. Except it looks like it has snowed on the weeded soil. That’s the lime.

compost beds mulched

Luckily all the garden birds were gorging themselves on the sunflower seeds I had on the terrace. I was worried they would swoop down and think they were food.

That was another load that had to be hauled out of the car. The sunflower seeds come in 15kg sacks.

Nothing like the sciatic to become obsessed by the weights of every object.

Once the compost was down and lightly raked it was time to tuck all 17 beds for winter.  Were I perfectly prepared it would have been my chipped sticks. But I don’t have enough for this huge area.  So instead it was a nice combination of the lower terrace grass and leaves.  And more leaves. And then more leaves.artur on compot

And nothing is more surreal in winter than standing over your garden beds with a hose and watering the lot.  But I had to dampen the leaves down as it was a touch windy. And I’d hate for all this good work to be blown away.

They won’t rot down entirely, but they should suppress the weeds. So that’s one part of the garden I don’t have to think about until next March.

I went up to the potting shed to check that Nicolas had taken all the compost I had been stockpiling in the blue boxes.  And guess who had nabbed one for himself? I guess Nicolas couldn’t bring himself to dislodge him.  Gardeners. Such softies.