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  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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January 12 2017 5 12 /01 /January /2017 15:31

I must admit,  a combination of bad weather and a virus has curtailed my gardening activities in early January. Not that there is much to do. I needed to continue digging over my new [second]  plot and get some paths laid on the old plot. 

The virus had taken something out of me, but  a day or so ago I was recovered enough to go the allotment. The rational mind says that it is a coincidence, but we see personal meaning in natural events. I was greeted with a chorus of bird song. It was not, of course, for me,but it was saying welcome back. 

The digging on the new plot was the main task, but the first job was to check for wind damage, as Britain has had a few bad winds recently, not as bad as last year's storms, but there has been some damage done in places. Fortunately, I was not afflicted. But the digging was hard, and I have run into a problem. Hard pan! When land is dug only to a certain depth for years the soil stratum below that depth can become quite hard, and this is what has happened. I cannot get below a spade's depth, so it is too shallow. My solution was to get a mattock, which is a heavy duty tool that is a cross between a pick and a hoe. I am going to use it to break up the soil in the rows of vegetables that I am going to plant.

But I had to shift some paving stones that I inherited when I took over the plot. After a few stones my bad back was complaining. My wife and daughter would complain even more. They think that I am too old to be lugging heavy weights, and they are probably right, but I am not growing old gracefully!  I laid some weed control fabric on one of the paths. It is really good stuff and keeps weeds down very well.But then the steadily intensifying rain sent me home. I am not expecting to be able to do much more in the next day or two  as the weather in Britain is worsening. The snow has struck Northern Ireland and Scotland and  rare thunder snow is predicted for North Wales. We in North West England do not really get the worst weather, but at this time of the year weather is an impediment.

The next big job is pruning the apple trees, which is my son's self-appointed task. He has had specialist pruning training, so why not use him.    

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Derdriu Marriner 08/24/2017 00:49

FrankBeswick, What do you use for weed control fabric? Among master gardeners in the United States, it's trendy to simply put down black plastic to absorb the sun and solarize the soil and weight the sheet down with rocks.

frankbeswick 08/24/2017 09:12

I have found Yuzet to be the best fabric. It is excellent for weed control and is easily cut exactly to shape. I am currently growing pumpkins through holes cut in it, and am having the best pumpkin crop that I have ever had. To pin it down I use ground staples. I add extra weight by putting down planks or paving stones, when I have them.