A half done dig

Digging the middle pathSo, where was I? Digging. And not just in the forest or some random new project; but the original dig. The potager. This is my mighty vegetable garden to the right of the house and just below the courtyard. After two years of productivity, it’s getting a makeover.   Well, a digover.

With the new huge wine barrels that I have, I thought it an idea to plant one up with tulips and wallflowers and place it somewhere in the vegetable garden. Only one place really if you think of symmetry and design. Slap bang in the middle.

So I needed to excavate the middle path, place the weedproof fabric down, roll the barrel into position. Plant up and voila.

Except that I’m only a quarter of the way there. Expensive osteopathy treatment means that I’m not throwing myself onto the spade and hoping for the best.   I have dug half the path and temporarily placed the weedproof and such. It isn’t a pretty picture.   But I have planted up the barrel. The tulips needed to get in and I had the wallflowers bursting out of their pots up in the potting shed.   The multi purpose compost had to be hauled out of the north cellar where it is lurking awaiting the rebuild of the potting shed in January. And then decide which tulips to plant.Potager planter complete

Potager work in progressI have gone for a dazzle of pinks and reds: Christmas Marvel, Menton and Uncle Tom. And planted the Cheiri Red Wallflowers over the top.   If it’s ghastly I will yank them out. But it could be fun.   I have a lot of the plump Mount Tacomas left over. But I think they will go in the east garden beds.

But why all the soil out you might ask. Well, I asked myself this as I excavated a mountain of it and laboriously tossed it to the sides of the path. I am short of soil in the top two quadrants of the vegetable bed. In fact I am on bedrock up the top. And I cannot rotate my crops properly.   I have four cubic metres of soil way up near the spring that M. Dumont excavated last week. But no way of getting it down the mountain. Besides, the soil in the potager has been worked and manured and tended for centuries. So I didn’t want to see it going to waste underneath a more permanant path.soil in forest

The tricky bit is I need to make an 80cm wide path all the way around the middle planter. But the leeks and the cosmos are still growing away. And are in the way. Perhaps another day will reveal the better logic of the design. And hopefully Nicolas will come on Tuesday to make the chestnut log sides of the path.

Twas a sunny and surprisingly warm day. Layers were peeled off and just  for punishment I decided to do a spot of surveying of the forest. The next water diviner gets his package of information at the Chalencon festival on Sunday (multi-tasking, everyone will be at the chestnut festival at our local village this weekend, so it’s the perfect place to make appointments and find them).   But he needs to know our boundaries a bit before he launches into his pendulum and water divining sticks.

We have a dog leg of land up near the forest that needed to be delineated. So up I went with 100m of string on a measuring stick, a compass and the photocopies of our land plan courtesy of the government website. All measured up.   And it was actually fun (if you exclude the overheating from stupidly keeping my beanie on my head and the tripping on the random brambles as I played out the string) and quite revealing. I have measured off two big parts and left a thin piece of twine (132 metres long) in situ so he can see what needs to go where.   On Tuesday I must buy a brighter coloured and more robust piece of twine so people don’t decapitate themselves when they walk up the forest path.