Saturday, 13 June 2009

All gardened out

I have come to the conclusion that the purpose of gardening is the journey, not the arrival. That it was better to view the physical effort of gardening as an end in itself and to enjoy it for itself, because what gets delivered at the other end can be so damn frustrating!

Earlier this week, I planted out the broad beans. Yesterday, I earthed up the potatoes for the fourth and final time.
And today, we've spent the afternoon extending the vegetable patch.

DH did most of the hard labour: lifting turf, breaking up the hard soil below and loads of digging. Amazingly, since it's right next door, the new patch is less like heavy clay and more like real soil (I have a theory: I reckon the new patch is where the Anderson shelter was during WW2 so they shipped in soil when they filled it in, whereas the old patch is unimproved clay.)

We dug in a bag of compost, in an effort to improve things further, before planting out the sweetcorn and butternut squash I've been growing in the kitchen. Behold my cornfield, with onions behind.

The newspaper is a weed-suppression trick I read about in The Lazy Kitchen Gardener by John Yeoman. Take 3 or 4 editions of a multi-sectional newspaper, fold each section into half or into thirds then dump into a bucket of water for at least 5 minutes or until sodden. (You are making papier mache.) Lay out to form a lattice. Plant your seedlings in uncovered areas and water in well.

The newspaper eventually rots down into the soil.

The first time I attempted the newspaper-trick, I laid the newspaper down in sheets and then discovered that it is really quite tough so planting the onions through it was really quite hard. Then a couple of weeks later, I looked outside to find that some of the sheets had shifted and torn. Couldn't figure out what had happened - once dry, it forms quite a hard shell on the ground and it didn't lift up in the wind.

The cause was squirrels! About a month ago, I looked out the kitchen window one morning to see a squirrel shredding the newspaper and whisking it off to form bedding for its nest. They stole about half the newspaper I'd used to cover the old veggie patch.

- Pam

1 comment:

km said...

I love the newspaper idea, and I can just picture the little squirrels lying in wait, watching you carefully form your lattice, then scurrying out after you've gone. A little watch squirrel anxiously spurring them on ("Here she comes! Go, go, GO!!!)