Two ounces of caraway seed

The forecast was for rain this evening, so it seemed appropriate to collect the caraway seed, which has been drying on the plants in the recent hot, dry weather.

Just as well I did collect it, as we have had a five minute blast of reasonable rain. And I’m sure the garden

appreciates it as much as I do! (Hopefully, there will be a bit more to come.)

Anyway, back to the caraway seeds. In all, there is a grand total of 45 grammes of them, so definitely a year’s supply for us. That’s off five plants, for anyone who’s interested.

It’s probably only about £2 but covers the price I paid for the packet of seeds. And more seedlings are on the way for next year’s crop. Besides, I am sure a few seeds will have gone in the compost bin, so undoubtedly there will be extra returns in the future.

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A bean pod

Every year, I vow that I will water more than I did the last year. It doesn’t happen. Except this year.

I might still not be watering enough – there comes a point where the cost of watering outweighs the benefit of growing my own – but I do want to see some crops. And it looks like my diligence is paying off.

I had noticed something which I took to be stem growing from a bean plant. But, upon closer inspection, I realised it was a bean pod. Not sure which variety, as I didn’t keep tabs on them thoroughly enough at the seedling stage. Nonetheless, I can celebrate this minor success in the unusually hot and dry summer we are having.

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Starting on the garden makeover

Since the fence between my neighbour and I went up on Saturday, I’ve been able to evaluate in context the way I would like my garden to go. It already feels more like a garden, being more enclosed, although a good dose of rain would make it less tired-looking.

I can’t do much while the soil is so hard (the ground needed two washing up bowls of water to enable me to put the final tomato plant in today). However, rain or no rain, I was able to remove the fence right at the end of the garden.

I guess it was put in simply to mark some kind of boundary, although the path behind it is also part of my property, too. In any case, it serves no useful purpose as far as I can see. In fact, it has proven to be more of a hindrance, making it difficult to access the area behind the apple tree.

So, after getting up this morning, the saw came out and without too much effort the fence was soon no more.

Now, when I look down the garden the view is much more pleasing to my eye.

P.S. My neighbour is aware of the stuff on my path and it will be removed in due course.

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My love of birds grows

This evening, a blackbird has been hiding in the strawberry undergrowth a lot. That is to say, each time I go into the garden it scuttles away to safety (relatively speaking).

I’m really intrigued. What is it so determined to find or get that makes it stay around but hidden? (NB After taking the photo, I managed to trip and fall down with a clatter in an attempt not to frighten my feathered friend and it didn’t stir.)

I’m amazed by both this behaviour and something I learned at an exhibition I took my parents and daughter to at Leeds Art Gallery yesterday. The bowerbird is like humans in that it appears to appreciate beauty for its own sake. The male bird makes a structure such as this

and decorates it with colourful objects. Each decoration is unique and woe betide if a person should fiddle with the composition: any changes will be corrected to the original version. What a clever creature!

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The difference a fence makes

At last, the day has arrived when I came home to a new fence down the east side of my back garden.

The photo makes it look a bit wonky, which in fact it isn’t. However, my neighbour herself is perhaps a bit disappointed that the fence panels aren’t at the same height and I’d rather they weren’t so high. I didn’t express my misgivings, though, as there isn’t much that can be done at this point.

The man who kindly did the job for a minimal cost (I didn’t pay for it) explained that there was just too much builders rubbish to go deep enough. That doesn’t surprise me in the least, considering what I’ve found when making my hugel beds!

Anyway, here begins a new chapter in the making of my back garden. The first thing that needs to be done is to sort out the upheaval on my side of the fence. For example, the hugel bed I built last winter which attracted the attentions of the rats has been disturbed.

As you can see, the soil is really just sand and the willow branches have begun to decompose not one iota. Of course, six or so months is hardly any time for this kind of activity but I suspect that if they were left for five years, they’d probably come out in much the same state. At least they haven’t sprouted.

Hopefully, we will have a downpour in the very near future, otherwise the fate of the rest of the garden could well be the same as the broad beans pictured above.

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The parts the dew don’t reach

Having commented last night that the garden looked remarkable green, in spite of the lack of rainfall, tonight I’ve noticed that one particular plant is starting to suffer. Just look at the leaves on this currant bush (not sure if it is a black or red currant bush).

In contrast, the other currant bushes seem in much better fettle.

My supposition is that the bush which is showing stress has not had the benefit of a hugel bed, whereas the other two were planted on one. That said, the two on the hugel bed will be more established, having been in situ about two years longer, so it could simply be that they have a more extensive root system.

It would certainly be good news if hugelculture is indeed as useful for countering dry conditions as I have been led to believe. This would make my efforts more worthwhile. Investigating these matters is, however, difficult to do in view of the number of variables.

Anyway, before it gets too dark, I am now off to move part of the garden path to make way for what will probably be the final hugel bed I build. I’ve got wood to use and it would a shame not to give more of the soil a chance at being improved.

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Ten pm 3 July 2018

After piano this evening, I suddenly got the urge to clean my car windows. Then in a fit of enthusiasm for being outdoors I started watering and generally pottering about in the back garden.

I completely forgot about the time with it being so light, until I heard my daughter call good night. And then I heard lots of cheering and shouting ‘Get in!’ around the neighbourhood (with all the windows and doors being open).

Now, I’m not a football fan but even I have just been touched by the excitement. So, here’s a photo of the garden at ten this evening to celebrate.

I can’t believe there’s any green at all – most of the plants are not getting watered, so it must be the morning dew sustaining them.

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