Posts Tagged ‘soil amendment’

On Friday I left for the garden straight from work, and as I was walking from the bus to the summerhouse I suddenly noticed something…

The woodland anemones are beginning to bloom. It’s still just a few dots of white on the forest floor, but soon it will be a veritable carpet. I will make sure to take a proper walk in the forest the next time I go up there!

I arrived in the garden just in time to have a couple of hours of daylight left to enjoy the garden before retreating inside to a warm fire and a Scottish coffee (as they say in Scotland, it’s like an Irish coffee, just with better whiskey).

I do enjoy the calm and quiet of sitting in front of a warm fire in a small wooden house with no TV, no people, no nothing. Just me, being there in the moment and feeling my mind de-clutter itself.

Mind you, that was the Friday evening. Saturday I was hi-jacked by one of the neighbours who seemed to be in a mood for sitting around a fire with a few too many beers, so that’s what we did from the afternoon into the late hours. The weather was excellent on Saturday; warm sunny spells interspersed with  mild snow showers.

imageWhile I wasn’t being laddish around a fire I did get something done. The vegetable beds are now in decent shape for sowing, perhaps on Easter Monday, perhaps later. (The forecast threatens with freezing nights down to minus 5C, so I have to wait for the temperatures to rise a bit.)

I think I still want to work in a bit more compost in the vegetable beds, both to lighten the soil and to bulk up the volume a bit.

There will be peas and beans in these two beds, like there was last year, but given that a great portion of the soil has been replaced I think it will be okay. And under the beans I will try my luck with some curly kale and some kohlrabi. And marigolds, of course, for what would a vegetable garden be without marigolds?

I think this will be an all right little vegetable garden.

I’ll finish off with a small – but significant – visitor to the garden; the first ladybug sighting of the season! These little fellows are always welcome in the garden!

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Today I received a call that my husband’s compost – his birthday present from his mother – was delivered this morning, and of course this means I have a full weekend planned.

I have only gotten as far as outlining the Sunny Border – a project I’ve imagined ever since we took over custodianship of this garden – so I need to dig away the turf and fluff up the soil beneath, mixing in a good measure of compost.

The other day I bought something I don’t particularly like; a long piece of 8″ deep corrugated plastic to serve as a boundary between the Sunny Border and the lawn, simply so the grass won’t invade the new border the same way it has invaded the Ambitious Border. I might invest in more of this once I’ve weeded out all the grass in the Ambitious Border.

It’s not pretty, for sure, but since it will be fully buried in the ground I guess I can live with it. I would have preferred a more natural material, but buying the wood to make something similar would a) be too expensive and b) probably be worse for the environment in general, since that wood would have to be cut, transported etc. to get to the garden.


In other news the dogwood and forsythia branches that I forced in the apartment now have green leaves. The forsythia might have lost its yellow splendour, but the dogwood is getting ready to show off a few bunches of tiny white flowers. And both the dogwood and the forsythia are beginning to show signs of roots!!! NEW PLANTS!!!

If they survive long enough they will end up in the Hedgerow toward the road, screening our haven a bit more from the outside world. More blossoms in spring, more variegated leaves in summer, more red dogwood stems in winter.


I picked some sedum stems last autumn as part of a bouquet of flowers for the apartment, and as the rest of the flowers faded the sedums started creating roots in the vase. I threw the rest of the flowers away, cut down the sedums to a few inches, and all through the winter they’ve stayed alive in a glass of water on the kitchen table. Yesterday morning I decided that spring had arrived and that perhaps in a month there might be room in the garden for the remainder of a bunch of flowers, picked for their beauty and retained so that beauty might regenerate. So I potted up the small stems with their fragile roots and tiny leaves.

It was propagation by accident, but I kept them alive. I watered them, nursed them and loved them – willed them – alive. It’s the greatest feat of magic imaginable, isn’t it?

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So what is this project that involves a transparent plastic box, you ask?

Well, it’s the dahlia flower bed, of course! I needed to find a solution for sowing them in the windows in the apartment and then being able to transport the seedlings up to the summer house and the garden – by public transport!

Miniature green houses cost a bundle, and as often as not they seem slightly flimsy and not really up for being transported by metro, train and bus, but these plastic storage boxes are cheap and sturdy, and they’re small (30 * 40 * 12 cm) enough that I can stack them in one of the large IKEA bags and schlep them up to the garden once the seedlings need to go into the ground. (And hopefully they’re JUST high enough that I can put the lids on when I need to transport them, even if I might have to gently bend the little plants if they grow too well…)

But of course growing the seedlings will have to wait for a while, since I can’t realistically plant them out for another 2-2½ months, so I will sow in April and then plant them out when it seems the weather has warmed up enough for the little darlings.

-And before I can plant them out, I also need to execute the other leg of this project; creating the bed they will end up in! It’s currently just a stretch of lawn, and though I’ve already started skimming off the sod the ground is also heavily compacted clay soil and will need to be worked quite a bit to become as I would like it.

-Which is where my husband’s birthday present from his mother comes in… His wish-lists tend to be somewhat unorthodox, and this year she had originally thought she’d buy him a load of firewood for the summer house, but when she called me and asked what I thought we had just ordered a load ourselves, so she jumped to another item on the wish list; soil…

Now, it’s great that she spoke to me about this before ordering anything, because we obviously don’t need soil as such; we’ve got plenty of that, but the issue is that it’s too clay-rich and heavy, so we just need to amend it. So on her behalf I ordered a ton (literally; 1000kg!!!) of fully mature coarse compost… My hope is that this will help make the ground more free-draining and generally lighter to work with and easier for plants to grow in. (And there should be plenty for the new bed as well as some for the Ambitious Border and the raised vegetable beds.)

I look forward to getting on with this project, but of course we will see how the weather behaves.

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