Saturday, 7 April 2007

Potatoes and the pond

It's been getting to the point lately where I couldn't dig up any more weeds because there was nowhere to put them, so the first job of this morning was to build a new compost bin. (My brother Steve and his work van finally helped me get some more pallets yesterday.)

Now there's a masterpiece of carpentry if I ever saw one! I thought it didn't matter that the first one was leaning a tiny bit, but now I've fixed another to it the effect is somewhat exaggerated! Don't worry; they're sturdier than they look...

While I struggled to dig a particularly clayey spot in what was to be the potato patch, Jess arrived and started to dig the pond for me with surprising enthusiasm! (Have you ever seen anyone look so fashionable while digging a garden?)

It's a small pond; only about four foot at the longest point. The council sent me a letter 'suggesting' I make it a maximum of 1m square and 18" deep - I've pushed this a little bit (since it was only a suggestion, and who wants a square pond??) but there's no point digging it just for them to tell me to fill it in again, so small it will stay.
About a foot down the soil turns into solid clay so I helped Jess out with the deep bit and we got it finished pretty quickly.

Small but perfectly formed. (The pond ain't bad either.)

Jess planted a row of parsnips between the onions while I dug the last of the Orgro into the potato patch. That leaves red onions and carrots still to go in, which I'll do as soon as I can. And at last, I planted the potatoes. There are four rows of 'Melody' maincrop potatoes to harvest at the end of the summer (that's 28 plants), and two rows of 'Charlotte' for new potatoes (we'll dig them up gradually throughout the spring and summer, from when the plants start flowering). I also put in two horseradish plants between the rows, which is supposed to deter potato pests. When we dig up all the spuds we'll be able to dig up all the horseradish roots too so hopefully there won't be a problem with them spreading.

I must confess; I felt my first twinge of boredom today with all the digging. I can't wait 'til it's summer and everything's just growing... But I won't rest until it's done; it's nearly time to start planting beans and peas so the pressure's on to dig the next mini-plot straight away.
I'm also anxious to treat the whole allotment with anti-slug nematodes; I want to direct-sow a lot of lettuces, spinach and the like but I have a strong feeling the seedlings will be eaten before I even see them unless I have some form of defence in place. Then there's those red onions and carrots to plant, and the pond to fill... So much to do and summer seems to be here already; I got proper sunburn today. Will have to buy a bottle of suncream to keep on the site with our tools, methinks. Now all that digging's done I think the first priority will have to be the pond; I'm just hoping the edges don't dry out (or get rained in) and collapse overnight... Easter Sunday tomorrow so I'll have to wait til at least Monday and probably later to get a pond liner in. Perhaps that wasn't the best planning...

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