Down and dirty

cold frame day oneI’m building a cold frame. It’s marvellous fun.  Well, it’s fun when the sun is blazing, the soil isn’t frozen and there aren’t too many stones.

And that was the position this afternoon on the mountain. Glorious.

The frame is two metres long and one metre wide. And I have dug down about 60 centimetres square into the ground. This is in front of the potting shed, facing south.  And I have taken great care not to over-do the digging.  I hauled everything out into buckets and then lugged them around the garden.  It’s quite good soil; not over abundantly supplied with worms, but still pretty good.  It will be put to use builidng up the area in front of the calamagrostis Karl Foerster grasses near the shade garden.  They need a bit more attention this year.  But I didn’t really have time to landscape properly. I was madly digging and working on my cold frame.

I have a three week break when I can’t get the potting shed plants watered. So this could be a solution.  Cold frames being underground means they wont freeze, and the area is small enough that the plants can respire and stay a bit moister than they would in a big shed.  This is all academic of course; I’ve never made a cold frame before. But I’m having fun. forest clearing

Tomorrow I will line the base of the bed with weedproof fabric and fix the sides with this lightweight building material that is cheap as chips (one euro a block) and sturdy.  I promise to record the exciting finished product before I fill it with plants.

chippingsEarlier in the day I had even more fun (I am a sad person) by chipping.  My wonder chipper from Viking has come back from the dealers with brand new blades, and I was itching to try them out.  And the branches sliced like butter. Heavenly to be able to reduce the huge huge piles of sticks I have been accumulating to such a good product.

I wanted to mulch the entire area under the walnut tree before I left as I can’t bear the thought of weeds stirring into life in such a rich environment as bare earth. walnut bed mulched

So with an extra visit to the forest where we were yesterday to loot the ground for sticks, I had my raw material ready.

more mulchAnd pausing only to deal with another gang of electrical engineers (my third in a week) who wanted to talk about the problems of the deteriorating electricity pylon on our property and what they have done to ameliorate the situation, I worked through the morning.

Artur was revelling in the sunshine, snoozing while keeping an eye on my progress.   And loving the soft spongy feel of the old wood chip mulch under his paws as he ran across my perfectly racked mulchy bed.  Never mind. It’s better than having wild boar or deer rootling about.

And he kept me company while I transplanted gaura from in front of the potting shed where I was going to dig. And then closely supervising all my late afternoon work.  Well, he was hunting some creature under a pile of chestnut burrs for at least an hour, but he did look in from time to time to check I wasn’t going anywhere.  Maybe he thought I was digging my grave. It’s long enough.