366 Days of Gardening!
Episode 5 – Week 6
Well You’ve Made Your Bed!!!
So, six weeks into the new year and where am l with regards the 2020 season? Am l ready for the growing period?
Well despite the restrictions and obstacles we have faced regarding the weather conditions and shortened actual physical time gardening, l am NOT that far behind with anything – l am ahead of myself. I finished Turn 8 of the composting last week and although l split the Turn up into two parts – the second being finished tomorrow – l still managed to pull out a good 150kg of fine compost which is ideal for starting off the seed planting in the next week or so. I also have a good 100kg of ground compost which is/was ideal for using in the making of the new season’s beds.
This particular Turn was a little bit messier – due to the dampness of the soils to be sieved so l had to revert to the old manual siever – but it worked fine so all good. But with the second part tomorrow l will pull off the main bulk of the compost required for this starting period of seed sowing, which l guess will be close to 250kg or quarter tonne. We have not done badly since this compost began, by the end of this Turn it will have yielded almost half a tonne of finely graded compost.
That itself is a major saving .. if l was to try and purchase a half tonne of finely graded organic compost from retailers l would and could easily be looking at a cost of £180 minimum – so l am very pleased with the end product. In 2017 for the year l pulled out almost 3.5 tonne of finely graded compost. It’s hard work, but the result is hugely gratifying. You personally know what goes into your compost and you know how it is worked and you know how the end result is going to be achieved – that truly makes the tag on it priceless! Two and half bins later and l was a very happy gardener!
Rough ‘ground compost’ in box and ‘finely graded compost’ in bins.
However Turn 8 Part 1 was last Friday finished just prior to the stormy weather due to come in on the weekend. This week l will finish off Part 2 hopefully before the next stom arrives – l get a little annoyed at all this naming of storms – “You can’t blame us it was Stormy Daniels or … ” mm, hang on, l think Stormy Daniels is something else … can’t remember which or who, but l mean why keep naming the damn storms??
Today my job was to make ready two of my main three large raised beds – they are not large large but they are still a good size of 48″L x 30″W x 8/16″H . I have just bought 8 new beds that measure 31″L x 31″W x 8/16″H. As you know, one [ the netted one] holds the garlic planted last year just as the beds were closing down for the 2019 season and the other two were soiled up and covered with cardboard to nurture and mature for the winter just gone or going.
All beds ready to go – Part 1
I emptied off two single beds a couple of weeks back and today l made up one new bed and replenished and reboosted one of the older ones. Of the three main raised beds, the two worked on today were made deeper, almost 14″ deep in consideration to their normal bed depth of 10″ – however l intend to mat them off and then use them as both courgette/cucumber beds for the summer months and for winter vegetables for the end of the season and year.
By matting them, this means l will be using the new no dig policy in the raised beds and simply replacing the matting and just cutting different holes. The matting will be covered in the new Strulch mulch which has its own snail/slug protection and the beds will also be covered with the frames l am building to stop the unwanted attentions of foxes and cats and [as much as l love them] the Percy’s and the BlackyBs![Blackbirds] All notorious raised bed diggers!
As you know l ordered a load of new soil of which arrived last week and the sole use of this is for all the raised beds and the containers. When making up the new bed and reenergising the existing bed with the rougher sieved compost l was able to really create a lovely growing medium for the beds.
New soil, compost, forked over, mixed, flattened, compost tea sprayed on and carded for the next month means that the soils can settle, that new microbial life can begin and no weeds will grow in the content.
I emptied off the two old potato boxes and used the soil contents from there to top up the two freshly made beds to give it the extra depth needed for a good quality root system. I have yet to decide what to do with those two boxes as of yet, but last year they were not successful or productive with the potatoes. We are no longer allowed to eat potatoes but l think l will use them to grow sweet pots this year as we are allowed those.
I am still to also decide on what l will be doing with this particular area currently used as storage and have been giving thought to moving the two seater into it and using that more sunnier spot for the new raised beds. But the season is getting closer and closer – yay!!
Before you ask … was Percy helping me today? Of course – he is always somewhere in the garden or overlooking it … he is a woodpigeon always on the lookout 🙂
Anyway, thanks for reading – catch you next episode….