The veg garden is 2 big beds about 6ft x 12ft, and 2 edge beds along the north and east boundaries. As you know, I’ve put those edge beds over to permanent planting, fruit and herbs – it’s what the bed-spirits suggested and the new apple trees, raspberries, the older currants and goosgogs, and the rhubarb all look very happy with the arrangement, and with sharing with the new roses. I do hope the latter will be OK, I bought them cheaply and they weren’t in the best of condition but got lots of TLC when I put them in and again now. fingers crossed. If they don’t make it I’ll go back to David Austin’s roses come the autumn.
Yesterday and today I’m digging out the second veg bed. My predecessor, the Lovely Lisa, bought in topsoil for the veg garden as there’s so little naturally, the second bed is not so deep as the first so I’ll certainly be adding muck in the finishing process, along with mycorrhiza, to help it along. all the veg garden will get mucked each autumn now so will get better and better.
The digging out is hard work. Lovely Lisa is one of the filthiest women I’ve ever had to follow-on from! Damn near cut my fingers off yesterday when I discovered she’d hidden 3 old glass jam pots in amongst the nettles I was digging out. Being careful because you fear more glass slows the whole process – bugger! And Lovely Lisa’s latest snare for me is the way she did the edging of the bed. She obviously comes from the school of use lots of membrane and old bags and stuff to cover the soil in the hope of keeping the weeds down Nooooooo !!! well it can work, and I do use cardboard and sometime carpet for this purpose myself. Cardboard breaks down slowly and, being wood, it gives itself back to the soil. Carpet works BUT you need to take it away, remove it when it’s done its job. Modern carpet is pretty well all manmade fibres, versions of nylon and they don’t break down in the soil.
but plants like to grow. It’s a big part of their raison d’etre, so they find ways round these obstacles humans try to stop them with. Nettles are particularly good at that! They have long tendril roots that can actually bust their way through concrete, and road surface! Membrane? Poof! Old builders bags? Phut! No problem … its’ just like this! It seems Lovely Lisa didn’t know this about plants … so she laid down layers of plastic, membrane and old builders bags. the nettles have had a field day! They carry on growing under the stuff, crawl their tendrils out over the edges and get going, growing on the top surface, so they knit themselves neatly around and through and over all Lisa’s supposed defences.
How am I going to stop them encroaching on the veg bed and nicking all the nutrients from the veg? I went to bed with that puzzle last night and woke this morning with a potential answer. The Plank! A potentially useful gift Lisa left me is a bloody great, 12 ft long, scaffold plank, neatly leaning against the the side of the north edge bed and making the path narrow. Have you ever lifted a big scaffold plank? I’m 5ft 2ins, 71 years old, crippled with arthritis and osteoporosis, and with the muscle tone of a corpse LOL. And the length of the plank means it gets up quite a kinetic when you pick it up, tries swinging you round all over the shop. Well, by calling on the local dragons for aid, I got the thing out of the way and was wondering what the hell to do with it, whether to gift it to my neighbour of the hens.
Aha! There’s a thing called “ditching” in gardening, we use it for edging beds and lawns, you leave a fairly deep, about 4ins wide, gap between the bed and the lawn and the plants find it hard work to jump the gap. I’m going to try that today.
I’ll dig out the nettles as best I can, make the gap between them and the veg bed, fix the plank along the side of the veg bed to keep the soil in, and cross my fingers! I’ll report back tomorrow so watch this space 😎🤞
PS – featured pic is closeup of May blossom … as it’s just gone May Day 💖