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Friday, 20 March 2009

Really Great Weather

Well we are in for our first week of great weather with temperatures in double figures, lots of uninterrupted sunshine and light breezy and at times warm wind forecasted, so I supppose spring is definately here and there is no turning back.

I'll let this post cover the whole week, adding to it a little each night on each days events.

Monday

Saw my first wood anenome in the woods today when I was going to collect Nathifa from school and the sweet violas are also blooming beautifully although not yet in my garden :( and on the way home from dropping Thifa at brownies I saw my first dandelion, I will have less of these in my garden this year as there is less uncultivated land available for them to grow and when I finish laying my brick paving down there would be no where for them to grow, maybe I'll leave the odd corner for them to ocupy and just forget to weed it from time to time, the trick to stop them spreading all around the garden is to not let the flower heads set seed but that doesn't stop them coming over the fence on the wind >:(.

Why keep them you may wonder, well I am also into wild foods and they make a great tea, can be used in salads (blanching the leaves while growing with an upturned bucket helps to reduce their bitterness), the bees and other beneficial bugs such as hoverflies (whose larva eats the nasty plant sucking aphids which attacks my veges) enjoy the pollen and nectar from the flowers and we enjoy the flowers both in salads but mainly lightly fried in stir fries.

Anyway down to what I have been achieving thus far today:

I cleaned up the flower beds, removing spent seed heads which I leave as a source of food for the birds over winter, cleared the beds of all the autumn fallen leaves and any weeds that may have established themselves early autumn. This allowed me to remove numerous slugs & snails and caterpillars or other grubs that would eat my plants, giving the birds easy access to said pests as there was less hiding places for them. Any plants that did not survive the winter were also removed and everything was dumped into my compost bin which as you can see I have almost filled up, though with mainly dry brown waste but this will balance out later in the season when more green wet waste is added.

It was truly a whole day job what with stopping to feed the smallest offspring and having to also pick up the oldest from school I was unable to finish and so will have to leave the relaying of bark chipping to the paths for Tuesday when I would also be tiding up the herb bed.

Germination progress noted for today IE what has begun;

  • The tomatoes.
  • The onions.
  • The nasturtiums.
  • The spring onions.
  • The ochro seedlings are now four.

Here are some other photos taken today:


Tuesday

Oh! what a beautiful morning, oh! what a beautiful day :)

Well I got to sorting out the herb bed as you can see, cutting down last year flower stalks, pruning and cutting back small shrubs to encourage fresh growth to use when cooking and a general tiding up.

Everything appears to have survived the winter with all but the arnica already producing young shoots. Some are on escape missions namely the oregano, lemon balm and the mint (which in all truthfulness had escaped but I was able to curtail its plans). I introduced some lawn edging boundaries to make this job easier in the future, this will help too in finding plants in the following springs when their shoots have not yet emerged.

With the reigning in of the mint and the oregano I ended up with lots of rooted cuttings which I have planted up for a couple friends and family, with the majority going to my local area freecycle group, well its them or the burn heap which as you can see is more than ready to be reduced but I will do that at the end of the week when all the tidying is done.

The herb bed took much longer than I ever anticipated to so the flower paths still did not get relaid but as they say tomorrow is another day.

One of the joys of being outside at this time of the year is the wildlife just listen to what accompanied me during most of my time outside today, yep bird song, the one we are listening to is by the mistle thrush.

video

Today I saw my second flowering dandelion and was lucky to have my camera, so you can see it too.

Germination progress today is as follows;

  • The squash and pumpkins have started.
  • Along with the purple basil.
  • There was some signs of one cabbage sprouting so far.
  • And some germination of the dwarf scabosia.

Here are some other photos taken today:



Wednesday

I finally relaid the footpaths between the flower beds with more bark chipping and looks so good. Checkout the before and after photos of the flower beds area.

Some sowing of seeds were done, namely dun dun duhhhh!!!! BRUSSEL SPROUTS. None of really care for them but i would like to see if by being homegrown and freshly picked, if that would make a difference in the taste. So with every one's general dislike in mind I'm growing a red variety that remains red to see if the eye could help sway the brain in to enjoying them. if i am successful in reintroducing Brussel sprouts to the family's diet it will be added as another veg in the winter veg list.

Germination of the green basil was observed.

Today I made my first harvest of the early purple sprouting brocolli, it went down a treat.



Here are some other photos taken today:




Thursday

Well what can I say about Thursday, it started of with some evidence of night time frost the bird bath surface was frozen as well but the sun was making an appearance as you can clearly see. The temperature was also mild with promises of more warmth.

But then at about 11.30am the sun disappeared and the air got really icy cold. I was outside when the change in the weather occurred, I was planting up my second early potatoes; five of Smile, five of Pixie and 3 of Nadine.

After that I pottered around removing the last overwintered weeds from the beds and some spent overwintered beetroot which didn't account to anything, they all ended up in the compost bin.

I was planning to get more done but none of the planned work was going to be heavy sweat producing work and it was getting too cold so came in for lunch and called it a day. Its funny, when its a warm day and I can feel myself getting hungry and I mentally tell my stomach to leave off and the hunger simply goes away and I blissfully continue gardening for hours on end (almost resenting any breaks I have to take) but a day like this and there is no way I'm able to ignore my hunger.

I noticed though that one of the containers with first early planted potatoes have the beginnings of potato plant foliage starting to peek through the soil surface.

Here are some other photos taken today;



Friday

Today the sun returned with all its brightness and warmth but I'm afraid my accomplishments were small. The day was filled with so many interrupting mundane tasks that in the end I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken.

I did though get to plant my Oca and Ulluca tubers and with all the rushing around I even forgot to take a photo of what they looked like chitted with the starting of their new growth. But they all went into individual pots and I'll show you them once they start to put on some foliage.

Two jobs I really wanted to get done today was the cleaning of the vege pond and the burning of my bonfire, the pond job simply eluded me all day and I completely forgot to start the fire this evening >:(.

Now to top it all off I haven't even taken one picture to mark today and it was a nice day.

Any hoo! that's it for this week's jobs, hope to get a couple things done tomorrow morning, we'll be off to visit and overnight by family till Sunday late and according to the weather forecast things are to go downhill from there so I'll see what next week brings in relation to jobs in the garden.

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