Where was I?

view from terraceI’m back.   And after obsessively watching the weather websites everyday in London, I can now live inside the weather here on the farm.   And it’s cold! Damp and a very cold house.   So I’m perched in front of the fire (mid April? Fancy) plotting my work.

We had an inch of rain in the past week, so things are looking lush. But I think my first job will be to pour a bucket of water over all the newly transplanted grasses and trees.   They need a soak.

And then I must attend to the wretched mole damage.   You go to all that work to weed, landscape, mulch and generally pamper a patch of ground. And a mole comes along and digs holes all over it.   I can understand why lawn obsessives get mad.   My shade garden grasses are hillocks of mess thanks to a hunting critter.   I will have to carefully scoop up the soil (trying not to disturb all the lovely mulch) and redistribute it.   I think it can go onto earthing up the potatoes. moles at work

That way it won’t only be the mole earthing things up around here.


And have you noticed something slightly different about the blog? I’ve decided to post larger pictures.   It may not only just be my eyesight that’s failing, but I am tired of squinting at murky blobs.   So hopefully it will be more illuminating.

mole revengeI did get the soil onto the potatoes. I was actually surprised how little soil that could be scooped out of the mole tracks.   I will need to find more to add to the growing potato rows. Maybe tomorrow.

I will have to consult my list. I find that you have to be strict and adhere to the list on the first day back. Otherwise you just wander round in a daze wondering where on earth to start.   Or just nibbling at the edges of things.

That’s how I started weeding the soft fruit orchard (luckily on my list). I was walking down to the potager and noticed a weed about seven feet long snaking along the grass path. I’m amazed at its prodigious length (still don’t know what weed it was) and found it has started life underneath the blackberry bush. weeded soft fruit

So off I went. Hands and knees and weed like mad. The soil is incredibly soft so it’s not hard to pull out the unwanted greenery.   Artur came down to help and sit in the sun watching and purring.   And I managed at least two heaping wheelbarrow loads of future compost before I was done.

Next up was to try and get ahead and prepare my bean poles with string.   I needed to add another row of string to help the peas on their great upward climb; so once that was done I have launched myself at the central bean poles.

tying polesI have the feeling it isn’t going to be easy to access these central areas of the potager once the growing really gets going.   So I have done four layers of very pink string (it fades fast) to help the future plants.

And Artur was delighted with my little surprise. I had so many nepeta (catmint) plants left over from the landscaping of the wall near the pool that I plonked four little plants in each of the central squares.   (There are heaps in more logical places.) My indulgent plan is to have a lovely little shaded place for the elderly cat in the heat of summer. With his favourite drug at hand.catmint heaven

He has done a test drive and it works.   He loves it.

I didn’t have time to linger for long in the potager; it started to rain. Well drizzle really, but enough to make me head for the comfort of the potting shed. My faithful drugged moggy at my heels.

I had moved in all the plants and seedlings when I arrived. from the open barn to the more warm and controlled  environment of the potting shed.   And things were thirsty and a bit confused about the moving about.

I have lost of few of the tiddlers, but hope that with daily watering and nurturing I should be able to bring everything on.

I’m particularly nervous about all my eryngium seedlings.   A slug took the tops off a few while in the barn which is frustrating. Some of these seedlings have taken an age to germinate and coddle to the small plant stage.   And half of them are a present for Leslie.

potting shed wateredAnd I had to pot on my new purchases.   I am very bad and buy in the special tomato plants. Gone are the days of sowing from seed.   Why? Because I get thousands of unwanted plants.   The curse of a perfect germinating environment: I always sow way too many tomato seeds, and end up pricking out trays and trays because I can’t bring myself to throw them on the compost heap.   And I find that M. Bois at the market on Thursdays can provide kilos and kilos of wonderfully colourful, flavourful and cheap tomatoes.

But I do grow about six plants each year in the garden.   And I have broken this pledge and sown a dozen Gardeners Delight cherry tomatoes to add to the group.   Those you can’t buy from the market. And nothing beats walking past a tomato plant and popping a warm cherry tomato in your mouth as you go.

I have three grafted aubergines (eggplants) which are an indulgence.   And I bought two new parsley plants as my perennial ones didn’t survive the winter.   I shan’t mention how many more thyme and lavender plants I bought as well. But hopefully I have now come to an end of the buying season and can get on with the growing season in all its complicated glory. late apr potager