Monday, 11 May 2009

Raking from A to Z

If there is anything you need to know about raking couch grass out of rotavated soil, then ask me and my two blisters!

However I will start this blog post from the beginning and end at the end, as all good authors should do (not that I am a good author, but aspiring to be one?)
So, Saturday morning and I was asked to swap my Trading Hut duties with John as he was off somewhere nice, which was not a problem for me as my lovely hubby had to go to the office that morning anyways. However & as usual, I arrived early, watered the greenhouse and started the never ending weeding (again).

Plot 144

I weeded around the earthed up potatoes and along the back where the sunflowers and hops plants are doing well - plus I remembered to take a picture of my toad house, which is still vacant, so any homeless frogs or toads are welcome. So I now have a toad home a bee house and a ladybug place too. There is also a bowl of fresh water outside my Greenhouse for any passing bees, dogs, cats, birds etc.
Weeding then continued in what I am calling my "salad" bed as I need to prepare the soil here for the tomatoes that are going to be the lucky winners of a fantastic prize!

Yes - a summer outside of the greenhouse and in a raised bed. Not any old raised bed you know! This one has been specially selected for their comfort and care.

OK so Daisy the scarecrow looks a little tipsy and the ladybird house like the leaning tower of Pisa, but I am sure that it will all be tikety boo by the time the tomatoes are due. I have Roma and Cherry. The plan is to raise half of each variety inside the greenhouse and half in the raised beds so I have a 50-50 chance of getting a decent crop.

After shop duties, I planted the iceburg lettuces that Arthur kindly left in my greenhouse for me last week. They are good sturdy plants and will be welcome on my plate in the summer months.

I didn't really grow lettuces last year, apart from the cut and come again variety, so this will make a nice change.

And last but not least from 144 is a picture of my sweetcorn soldiers, that I am very proud to say are doing absolutely fabulous!

Now to plot 121 - this is where the hard work took place. Sunday morning - Nigel was in the shop, so he let me the rake and said "Oh you just need to rake as much of the couch grass roots out of the soil as you can,"

So I set to work.


I raked here and I raked there. I raked the length of the plot and then the width and back again.

I heard my name being called "Ali" and there was that good old signal being given to me that the kettle was on, so I went for a cuppa.

This is Arthur who is a godsend to the Trading Hut - he must barrow 50 to 60 bags of compost, manure and other things around the plot to satisfied customers nearly all weekend. He's getting a little sparkle in his eye now - and bossy with it sometimes too!

This is Ron (Hut Manager) and Derek (lotty hero) enjoying their cuppa tea.

Nigel kindly said that he would make me some raised beds from scaffolding boards - how was a girl to refuse an offer like that!

So here are the pictures of the beds being made, taken across to the newly raked plot, put into position (finally after a lot of umming and ahhing) and painted up.

121 will be proper up and running next weekend I reckon - see a bit of blood and sweat, a helping hand, alot of time and you can do it - Couch grass to resembling a plot in just over a week!

Constructing the beds outside the trading hut

Deciding where they are to go!

Being painted pink (remember - green is the new pink)

All painted up and in position - ready to be sunk in before filling with compost and manure

My asparagus and strawberries can't wait!


Rachael said...

Like you I'm having my tomatoes half in half out, and I've done FAR too many, but at the moment it looks like they will be the only things to eat as the peppers, chillies and cucumbers are all growing incredibly slowly.
Your sweetcorn looks really advanced and very promising. Keep up the good work!

Mrs Jones said...

My chillies and cucumbers are being somewhat coy as well. I'm doing a slightly different tomato experiment - I dismembered one, spread the seeds out on kitchen paper to dry for a 2 or so, then tore them out and planted them several to a pot. Into another pot I just stuck a whole tomato and covered it over. I figured this would be how it was in nature (if it hadn't gone through an animal's digestive track that is!) - a tomato would fall to the ground and then germinate. That's the hypothesis, anyway. Hmm, really should blog about this...

keewee said...

You have a great garden there. I get the "warm fuzzy feelings" when I read your blog. It is the English flavor which does it. I was born and raised in New Zealand moved to the States 28 years ago, and still miss some things typically English/Kiwi in nature.

Ali said...

Thank you ladies for your lovely comments - Rachel, I am doing ok with the peppers & chillies but only just put cucumbers in.
Mrs Jones! You experimenter you!! Let me know how your tomatoes get on & Keewee - i am glad to know that my blog gives you a "warm fuzzy feeling" from the English flavours - that is a lovely thing to say
xxx (one each) :0)

Scattered Gardener said...

is it still a good time to plant out asparagus? I thought you had to do it in the autumn...where did you get the plants at this time of year?
We've just had our first English asparagus from the veg box - so delicious, we decided ( again) that we want to grow our own...Info would be much appreciated please Ali.

Ali said...

Hi SG,
I got some crowns ages ago from Wilkinsons. I have just sat them on top of a large pot of compost and watered everyday (in my Greenhouse) and they have produced foilage - the others I have grown from seed. I don't know if it is the right time to plant them out actually, but I did see them selling in Woodcote Nursery's yesterday - I will have to look it up in my book and let you know. What part of Surrey are you in?