About my garden

Tuesday 21 July 2015

My Viridor Compost delivery

Very early on Thursday morning a delivery driver appeared at my back door. Luckily I was up and about even though I wasn't expecting him until 8am and I though that was early. 
This is what he was delivering:

 This is around 2 tonnes of recycled garden compost from the Viridor recycling centre. (By the way - this is marketed as a soil conditioner,not a potting compost.) I was lucky enough to visit when I went on my Compost Champion training day. They have huge windrows of garden waste which is shredded and turned very regularly and made into compost quite quickly. Then we are able to buy it back! (We've already paid to have it taken away if we have a garden waste bin). I stupidly forgot to take a camera but you can be sure I'll remember if I go again. It was compost heaven.
It you are local you can have it delivered or buy it from local waste recycling centres. I'm going to be creating lots of beds from scratch and am planning to have a poly tunnel so I decided that a large amount of compost would be a help.

 My husband has access to these rather large pallets so had quickly made a bay the night before. These are at least twice the size of a normal pallet.

 Luckily it was just the right size for the pick-up to reverse into. The driver was very amenable about dropping it just where I wanted it, which saved many trips across the field with a very small wheelbarrow. There will still be plenty of trips but I can take my time as it is not deposited on the drive.

This is what it looks like. Very dark and lovely.  It is very light and dry just now and will need to be mixed with soil or manure for most crops. The driver had grown potatoes in it, though, and then of course they are very easy to dig up.
I like to think there might be a little bit of my old garden here being incorporated into the new.  

A new bed - the long, hard way.

 As you may know we have moved to a new house. There is plenty of scope here for new beds and planting and I couldn't wait to get stuck in. 
There is a cultivated garden here at the back but it is quite well planted up already and the space left is mainly for low growing things. I brought quite a few plants with me in pots. I left plenty and only brought unusual plants or ones with sentimental value. I collected a lot of seeds too so need to have a sowing session soon. 
Some of these plants had been sitting in  pots since March as we had planned to move then but it was not to be. I was very keen to get them into the ground but it meant digging a bed to accommodate them. 
So out I went with my design consultant (who I happen to be married to) and explained where I wanted the new bed to be. I had planned to dig it myself but just wanted to run it by him. I thought a long, wide but straight traditional border. He had other ideas:

 You can just see the bed marked out in rope.

We just skimmed off all the turf (loose term to cover grass and assorted weeds) and removed it. Yes we did pile into the back of the land rover. It has to earn it's keep too. 
I decided to dig this over properly once to start with but then hopefully never again. I never dug my beds in Broadway. 
This soil has been compacted by having two ponies living on it and also sometimes vehicles driving on it and of course the grass. I hope it will be quite fertile. 

        We stupidly started it where a tree had once been and although it is long dead, some rather large roots are still there to be dug out.
   I thought I might attempt double digging but wimped out and instead dug one spit deep and forked under that. I've added manure to the trench and am then turned the next load over onto it. It has turned out to be good soil and not as compacted or clay like as I expected. 
It is taking a long time to dig over as other things crowd in and I have renewed respect for old gardeners (and current ones) who did this every year.
Now you can see the dandelions are taking hold. Proving the taking off their heads is not enough, as if we didn't know!

I've nearly finished now and the dandelions are really large - twice the size of this but it makes them easier to find. I've planted a few things but there is plenty more room. I hope the weeds don't take over before I do.
We really shouldn't have made it so big but to start with, I hadn't planned to but as you see we have the space and I know by this time next year it will be full.

Soon - the quick and easy way to make bed...

Friday 17 July 2015

Swallow summer

Look at this fabulous picture: (the subject not the actual photo)

We have a building here which was previously used as a  stable. When we moved in we were told not to close the top of the door as swallows were nesting in there. 
We have watched the parents swooping in and out all day long for the last month. They have worked so hard and barely seem to stop. I suppose it is only a short time compared to the 18 years and beyond which we humans care for our young. 
We have kept out of their way as much as possible but I noticed that five little heads were peeping over the edge of the nest. I went back with my camera when the parents were out and quickly took a photo (no flash).
Can you believe how they fit in there? It reminds me of a saying - Little birds in their nest agree. I think it was my Grandad who used to say it to my sister and I as we were always fighting. I wonder if these birds squabble. It does look rather sqashed.

I think it was in the next couple of days that I took this:

 One little chap has braved it down to the shelf. I suspect actually, that they had all been out and back in a again by this time. I wondered how they would get out the door and if we needed to open it for them. But of course the parents knew what they were  doing and they all got out perfectly well without my help! We can see that they had been perched on botton half of the door.
The following day I was out and about but the parents were swooping around and warning me away so I hid in my greenhouse and kept away from them.  Later in the day the nest was empty and they were all flying. Imagine being able to fly like that as soon as you leave the nest!
We saw them swoop in and out a few times over the next few days, sometimes it seemed, for fun. But then sadly for us they seem to have gone and we rarely see them. I miss watching them and their amazingly fast and accurate flying. It was such a privilege to see them.