Who moved the mulch?

The blackbirds are very tame at the moment. I’ve just been out to the bins, whilst nearby one was too busy pulling out a worm to bother with my presence.

I’m not sure if it is these same birds that are also rumaging through the rhubarb mulch. In any case, I’ve been rumbled. They have discovered the sticks from the Christmas tree, covered with compost, which went down last autumn.

The rhubarb seems quite unperturbed, however. In fact, I think by Easter it might be possible to pick a few sticks.

Incidentally, whilst at Nostell Priory recently, I noticed plenty of mulch material behind the adventure playground (near the kitchen garden). I wonder how many people wander behind the bushes next to the swings and discover this?

Manure, grass cuttings and what appear to be young fruit trees

The Nostell rhubarb certainly seems to have benefitted from it!

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The forgotten hum

More tomato seedlings had appeared over the last few days, so after last week’s under-watering and then damping off, it looks like I will end up with at least enough tomato plants this year. It also meant that I needed to get the latest seedlings into bigger pots.

In turn, potting up meant I got to take a trip down the garden to the shed. And in the bright sunshine I noticed the first dandelions of the year.

This was followed by the arrival of a bumblebee. It didn’t seem to notice the dandelions but rather kept close to the soil, as though it was sniffing it. Whatever it was up to, I was pleased to see it and hope that it will be okay tonight considering it is predicted to go down to -1 degrees C.

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Patio strawberries

After I’d lifted the flagstones on my patio and finished the base for my shed, I had a big mound of soil on top of the strawberry patch. I decided this would be best moved in order to cover the builders sand by the back door and extend the herb bed. At the time, I’d wondered if in moving the soil from the strawberry patch, the new bed would end up becoming a strawberry patch, too.

So far, the strawberry plants are only small but it is clear that at least four have survived being trampled on, smothered and accidentally chopped. However, I can imagine by the summer this bed will be too full for herbs.

Still, it will be delightful to step just outside and pick fruit first thing in the morning, blackbirds permitting.

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The sesame and the slug

I’ve been watching the pots on my windowsill for a week or so. The oregano has germinated and so have a few of the seame seeds. The oregano are growing, albeit at a very slow pace. On the other hand, the sesame seem to be keeling over.

At first, I though it might be damping off or a lack of heat. Until I discovered a baby slug on the surface of the compost.

It’s possibly difficult to distinguish the slug from the sesame seedlings. But in case you’re wondering, the life form I don’t want is the one on the left, above the copyright notice.

It has duly been removed and now I will be extra vigilant. I realise the slug must have got into the compost when it was kept outside, in the days before the shed, so presumably now that it doesn’t have to stay outside there will be less of this kind of thing. Here’s hoping!

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In between the flagstones

When I looked out this morning at my beloved shed, I noticed something I hadn’t expected to see under the door. My first thought was that something had happened to the support but upon closer inspection, lo and behold, it was this:

I don’t remember any glory-of-the-snow growing in what was the original garden path, so it must have been transported there when I was filling in the foundations for the shed. However, it quite clearly doesn’t mind the builders sand.

Phacelia doesn’t seem to mind, either, as some has started to grow in the sand still on what used to be the patio. So who knows what I could grow intentionally in this spot…. I had thought of trying carrots, so I might actually give it a go.

On a more regular footing, the peas in the shed have started to germinate, so hopefully I can have them in the ground soon. But in the meantime, I will enjoy the glory-of-the-snow coming up all over the garden front and back.

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Cut- and-come-again kale

You know how something happens but it takes you a while to see it? Well, this is the case with the kale stalks that are dotted around the garden.

I’d been lopping the tops off as I wanted kale for my tea but leaving the stalks to decompose in situ, particularly the roots. I had hoped thereby to break up the soil a little.

This may of course happen in due course. However, looks like I might just get another meal or two of kale before then.

Oh, and the cabbages are also at it!

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The bokashi’s second birthday

On the eighteenth of March 2015, two bokashi bins, bran and activator liquid arrived at a nearby newsagent’s and with great excitement I picked them up after work. The excitement dropped a bit when I realised that I didn’t have much food waste that couldn’t go in the regular compost bin and the bin didn’t produce liquid fertiliser immediately.

Then I started putting all kitchen waste in the bin with the bran and activator – and went away to Cornwall. Upon my return, all was functioning well and I’ve not looked back. Apart from last autumn when the apples and rose hips didn’t need much encouragement to cause mayhem.

Anyway, enough of the nostalgia. The bokashi bin has now found its permanent residence under the kitchen sink, thanks to the shed allowing many positive changes to be made inside the house.

The one pictured above is now full and will be helping next year’s Jerusalem artichokes along when it’s ready. As I move to a no-dig gardening approach, and with nearly all the hugel beds dug, I may find I have a surfeit of bokashi fertiliser. But right now, it is still very much of value.

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