28 May 2012

Gardening

I have managed to spend some time in my garden today, it was looking a little neglected. I was expecting a hot day so I started early to catch the cooler weather. The warmer weather we have been having has meant that everything in the garden is blooming including the weeds. My youngest loves to join me in the garden, so whilst she was busy digging holes with the new trowel that she got for her birthday, I love those presents, when they are exactly what your child loves, and you did not think of it yourself, I set too weeding. We spent a couple of hours at the task before having to retreat inside as it was just too hot.

Much later when it had cooled a little, we went out again to plant out seedlings and sow seeds. We managed to plant out the cabbage, broccoli and kale seedlings and sow spinach, carrot, turnip, beetroot and leeks. I am not sure how much of this will actually grow big enough before the daylight reduces and the air turns cooler. The soil has been so cold that any seeds I have sown already have just not germinated.

As we were working away I reflected on how mature our garden is looking now. We have lived in our house for over nine years now and the first summer after we moved in we started work on it. You access the garden up some steps, along a path down the side of the garage/workshop. It is a long narrow garden, which was almost entirely grass when we moved in, immediately behind the garage there was a half built patio and there was a raised patio area at the top end that you would not have been able to use as it was far from flat, down both sides of the garden was a row of rose hip bushes. We finished off the patio, fenced the garden up both sides, with rabbit proof fence, took the patio at the top and reduced it in size to make a substantial raised bed, we re-used the paviors to make a wiggly path through the garden, built a small wildlife pond, erected a trellis to support a large honeysuckle and a hammock, erected a poly tunnel and built two large compost bins. We acquired a womery and have planted a plum tree and several fruit bushes. The birds have bequeathed us several hawthorns, a rowan and a willow tree. The whole garden slopes uphill, so we used all the stones that we found under the top patio when we demolished it to make small stones walls to create stepped beds.

 The garden now is a mix of trees, fruit bushes, shrubs and climbers which are in a fixed position. The 'empty' parts of each bed are used for the vegetables that we attempt to grow. Each year we have successes and failures. We have a short growing season so I have stopped trying to grow any of the tender plants such a tomatoes, peppers or aubergines, they will not even bear fruit in the poly tunnel! I usually manage to grow cucumbers, courgettes and salad leaves in the poly tunnel, these rarely thrive outdoors. What does do well is potatoes, garlic ( I have not bought any for five years now), root vegetables and hardy brassicas. I noticed today that I have a number of strawberry plants that have come up, I have no idea where they have come from, I pulled up all the plants we had several years ago as the the fruit never ripened, I am not sure these will either a they are in a very shady spot, but as I didn't buy the plants if they don't it hardly matters.

I love gardening, especially if can produce plants to eat, for me it is well worth the effort. Do you have a garden? What are you growing?

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