Posted by: sweetpea | May 1, 2007

Pea supports and edging

I made a little more progress with the waterbuts on Saturday morning.  I arrived at the lottie early and started to try and clean the smelly third waterbut with the broom I’d brought from home. It was fairly easy to clean, and I made sure I poured the dirty water outside the plot on the path so that if it did contain anything nasty I’d be able to tell.  So far the grass seems unchanged, still growing happily so I think it’s probably safe to use as a waterbutt, although I guess it might still have contained something that might not affect plant growth, but I can’t see Frank buying anything for the lottie shop that wouldn’t be safe to use.

I finished drilling the holes for the connector pipes, and Maria helped me fix the connectors on whilst I crawled inside.  I’ll have to wait until next weekend to finish the job as B&Q didn’t have any waterbut taps yet again, but a very nice man did help me get the right bit of pipe for linking the diverter to the first waterbutt.  I have now bought a tap online rather than risk yet another wasted journey to B&Q, so hopefully it will arrive for the weekend. I doubt very much there’s a risk of missing out on any rain before then, but I hope we get some soon so that all my efforts won’t have been wasted.

On Sunday I spent the whole day down the plot, enjoying the sunshine. I like spring sunshine because it makes everything look alive, puts a smile on my face, but isn’t so unbearably hot that it gives me a headache.  I had a whole list of jobs as usual, the most urgent of which was to get the bits I haven’t dug covered.  Since we had that brief spell of rain the weeds have shot up and the plot now looks a little more overgrown than I’d like.  I don’t particularly like to see vast areas of black membrane, but at least if I’m suppressing the weeds I won’t feel like I’m never going to get it under control.

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The lottie after last weeks rain, weeds galore! 

I started off in the far right corner, where the old greenhouse used to stand.  It is now full of brambles, bindweed, nettles and grass, with a little Goosegrass thrown in for good measure. I cut back all the brambles down to ground level since I have plenty along the right hand border, at the same time removing the nettles etc from around the edge. I found a little fern plant which I transplanted to my temparary holding bed (which is fast becoming a flower bed), then I tried flattening the grass, and emptied the old growbags from last year on top.  I didn’t know what to do with them really as I had the dreaded Red Spider Mite last year so didn’t want to use them as a mulch or add them to the compost heap.  Finally I covered a third of the area with a piece of membrane I had lying around, and used 2 pieces of polycarbonate sheeting to cover the rest, not ideal but it will do until next week as I was too late and disorganised to get any more membrane from the shop.

After lunch I decided to have a break from the weeding and get on with putting up some netting for my peas to climb up.  Last year I thought I was being clever by putting the netting on the outside of the peas. My thinking was that it would keep the birds off, however whether or not it did that, it certainly made picking any peas tricky.  So this year I have gone for a bamboo frame, with netting over it, and the peas growing up the outside 🙂 

The next thing I did wasn’t actually on my list of things to do, but somehow I just had this urge to have a go at making some edging for my pea bed.  I’ve been gathering wood, in fact my shed is full of it, but I haven’t actually got around to doing anything with it. So I grabbed a couple of pieces, a mallet and my saw, and set about creating some edging.  It isn’t finished yet as I need to put in some stakes and nail the edging to them, but I think it looks pretty good for a first attempt. 

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My final jobs for the day were to finally plant out the chickpeas Maria gave me, she’s grown them from shop bought chickpeas so I’m not convinced that they will produce anything in our climate, but it’s worth giving them a go anyway as you never know I could be proved wrong. I also sowed my parsnips at last and some mooli, the parsnips were again sown by first making a deepish hole with a bamboo cane, then widening it with a thicker stick, and filling it with compost.  I sowed 5 seeds on top of each position and covered them lightly with some more compost and gave them a good watering.  I shall have to keep them watered now until they germinate as they don’t like getting dry.

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