What a gorgeous day it was today. I was raring to get out in the garden all day, but managed to restrain myself and go out at midday for only four hours. I say only four hours, because in previous years I'd be out there from the crack of dawn until dusk and suffer for it and then eventually hate it all because I was so tired. Not this time. Small, but steady progress every week is my aim.
So, the picture above is the rhubarb bed, all the brambles removed, thoroughly weeded (but still wild around the edges!) and then manure and compost laid down onto the crowns of the ten plants. I noticed that the scaffolding planks at the edges of the beds had disintegrated, so that has been added to the bottom of the list to replace. That's not an urgent job and can wait until the autumn.
As I was weeding the edge of one side of the bed, I discovered a bit of carpet laid down and long forgotten. I pulled it. And pulled it. And pulled it. Pretty soon it pulled all the way back to reveal this.
It goes right the way to the shed. I seem to recall a few years ago I intended to sheet mulch the area, ring the plum tree periphery with mints, lemon balm, and bulbs, then add a thick layer of green manures and brassica seeds to prevent the grass from growing back and produce greenery for the chickens to forage. As it stands, our chickens are peculiar and don't eat greens apart from grass (well the odd dandelion, a bit of lamb's lettuce and onion tops), so there is no point in pursuing the second part of that idea. Instead, once the mints etc are in, I will add a vegetable/cutting flower bed smack bang in between the trees, lay down a membrane and mulch some pathways. The carpet I pulled up is absolutely smothered in grass and weeds, so I will clean it off, turn it over and sheet mulch the next strip to the left.
Yet again this spring I am buying in compost and soil for the garden, as my attempts at composting just don't seem to produce much in the way of useable soil. It shocking that the most enormous piles of compostable material break down into not much more than a couple of small beds worth of the good stuff.
Given the size of the veg garden, the polytunnel, the two flower beds I am overhauling, and now this extra bed, it would be foolish to try and eek out what I have home composted between everything. There lies the way of lacklustre growth, mini veg and sickly plants.
So, as my shoulders are in good condition now and raring to demonstrate just how well they can work without gluten, I have ordered two tonne bags of soil from Compost Direct, one bag of veggie gold and the other black gold for the flower beds.
Frantic spring barrowing from the front to the back garden will commence at the end of the week!