We have had two gorgeous, sunny days, with blue skies and birdsong to rival Orpheus. Cold nights still, and yet more snow forecast for next week, but it feels so optimistic today.
The buds on the magnolias and lilac are swelling and I decided to pop up to the new veggie garden and take the geese with me for an outing. During the worst of the winter I have kept them close in fear of foxes, so an excursion up to the field was received with rapture.
I also managed some photos at last thanks to Roy from Roy’s Nature Logbook over at http://roysnaturelogbook.blogspot.co.uk/
and Harrison Camera Shop, Sheffield. www.harrisoncameras.co.uk
who are fantastic and no trouble is too much for them.
112-114 London Rd Sheffield, South Yorkshire S2 4LR: 0114 276 0002
“Harrison Cameras Direct providing the best service possible and unbeatable prices on everything photographic – Harrison Cameras.” Score: 29 / 30 - 11 Google reviews
I have left most of the plot covered with fleece over the winter but have put black plastic on some bare earth to warm it up ready for early planting – a little optimistic perhaps.
The fleece has withstood the dreadful winds and storms over the winter but at times it was necessary to go and search for pegs which had blown away, and replace them. The heavyduty fleece it looking fine but a little thin in places but the thinner fleece has torn rather in places. (The site is very exposed.) However the crops underneath seem to have benefited.
I was late planting most things for over-wintering still being rather a novice at vegetable growing: the kale has been a wash-out but the winter onions, garlic, swedes, turnips, spinach and pak choi have done well. Clearly, despite the weather, they have continued to grow slowly under their warm, fleecy coverings. In fact, at the West end, a rabbit has made its burrow under the pak choi: warm and sheltered it can just sit in its tunnel/warren and pull the plants down by their roots. Very intelligent, although I am cursing it roundly.
A day like this makes me want to get out and into the ground but I do not want to disturb all the worms and other creatures who will suffer from being exposed. I must make do with my seed catalogues and decide what to plant. I kept a diary last year so hopefully I can rectify my most obvious mistakes.
One innovation this year is to plant some potatoes in tyre towers rather than in the ground. A famous organic gardener in the UK, Bob Flowedew, (yes really!) advocates growing them this way. photo from www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
When they come up and are about 6-8 inches high you put on another tyre and add more compost on, to almost bury the foliage. When that grows again to 6 inches put on another tyre and add more compost, and go on like that until it get’s a bit silly or unstable.
photo from www.thegreengal.co.uk -
You leave until growth is almost coming to a stop then gradually as you need then ,take off a tyre and remove your crop of potatoes. Watering is vital of course, but where I want to put them is near an old bath in which we catch rain water.
This is a useful way of using space for potatoes if you do not have a great deal of ground but it is not particularly attractive. HOWEVER, take a look at the following that I found over at The Constant Gardener: http://wellylady.blogspot.co.uk.
Best Re-working of a Tired Theme:
Pitmaston Past and Present, Pitmaston Primary School (Highly Commended)
“You’ve heard of stacked car tyres as planters, usually with the words ‘potato’ and ‘Bob Flowerdew’ not far behind. And then you’ve shuddered a little and turned away to do something more aesthetically pleasing instead. Well – it’s a good idea, just a little challenging on the attractiveness front: so here’s what the kids at Pitmaston Primary School did with it. Now you’re talking.”
Isn’t that wonderful! Well, the other half will get a surprise when I give him several tins of bright paint and ask if he, since I am allergic to all such, would do me the service of painting lots and lots of old tyres for me. Watch this space:)
PS Shucks!! I have just been alerted to the fact that toxic chemicals can leach out of tyres into the soil and thus the vegetables grown therein. I must do further research. And I was so excited.