Posted by UsedCarCheck.info at 11:44 PM | Labels: acupressure, chitting, grubbing, mats, relaxing, shakti, SPRING GARDEN, weeding
NEW BEGINNINGS IN THE GARDEN
We haven’t much left in the vegetable patch now, it’s either all been eaten by us or the slugs or the frost has got to them. There are a few broccoli and kale plants that are nearly getting ready for their final growth burst. Their small delicate floret heads are one of the most popular vegetables in the family. Even the dog enjoys them, which is a miracle as she is the fussiest of eaters, choosing only prime meat, which you have to hand feed. Spoil our dog? I think so, but we have to make it up to her after last weeks visit from the stray Springer Spaniel made her feel very unsettled. The stray took off after a pheasant in a field and we haven’t seen her since. Disney will probably make a film about her exploits across Inishowen.
Other veggies still hanging on in there and surviving the frosts are leeks and brussel sprouts (my own personal favourite veg, you can never have too many on your plate) I transplanted the leeks a little late last autumn so they are still like straws waving about in the wind, they might pick up though so we’re working around them today and making the most of the few good gardening days that we have had recently. Spring is nearly here so any last minute tidying needs to be done now or we will be sinking in a field of weeds, which, not surprisingly are usually the first plants to wake up and stretch their stems.
Julie and I have very different weeding methods. I am still in awe of my Chillington Dutch hoe with the novelty of being able to weed and keeping a straight back. I am watching Julie on her honkers, attacking the creeping buttercup and dockers with a hand tool, meticulously picking out all the root. I can’t resist interfering and step in with the hoe, ploughing up the ground next to where she is working. Nettles, docks, moss and any other unwanted plants fly everywhere as I move along the ground deftly, until remembering what I wrote about last week about getting back into the swing of things slowly to avoid injury…The hoe gets a squirt of WD40 before going back into the shed and I go back into the house, leaving Julie with a mountain of soil, old roots and weeds to sift through. I think to myself that I might just have ruined her methodical approach to clearing the ground, but she assures me she is just happy to be out with the sun on her back grubbing about in the earth.
SPUDS YOU LIKE (TO SQUEEZE)
In the shed I notice the spuds I had placed in egg cartons for chitting. The frost has got in and turned them to mush. I won’t be getting any crops form them but they do feel nice and squishy when you squeeze them in your hand…Simple pleasures.
It’s too early for spuds to be planted yet, especially if we are getting any more really cold weather. Like most plants they don’t much like the cold and wet, maybe that is why I never have much luck with parsnips. Delay the planting until the ground is warm and dry (traditionally I plant spuds around St Patrick’s day), and they will get a far better start.
Chitting is simply placing the potatoes in a frost free place with indirect light. This will help to produce short strong shoots, which will be a good start when they go into the earth. If they are left in the dark the shoots get too leggy and snap when they are planted. I use egg cartons to keep them in, but seed trays are just as good. As long as there is air circulating, it should keep the fungal diseases away, and if they don’t touch one another, any pests and disease shouldn’t spread. If you are growing them this year try to keep the new shoots to three to get bigger spuds, especially maincrop varieties.
Julie has the right idea with her methodical weeding technique, as she not only gets the roots up, but also notices the small soil borne pests laying dormant until the ground warms up, waiting until they can do real damage. They are generally thrown onto the path for the robin, which is never very far away. The birds two favourite nibbles are the vine weevil and the leatherjackets (crane fly larvae). Nipping the problem in the bud is good advice and if we can keep on top of the garden now, life will be so much easier in the summer months when we can start to enjoy the fruits of our labours.
Here’s a top tip for us this week for the summer months when we are relaxing. It’s to keep mosquitoes at bay. …..Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It keeps them at a safe distance…. You don’t even have to remove the sheet before putting the clothes in the washing machine….