Making Way

A couple of weekends ago, we cut all the spent pea plants to the ground (leaving their nitrogen-fixing roots to continue to enrich the ground), weeded the top bed, and dug up all the onions.

Pea pods were saved for seed and the pea stalks cut up and added to the compost, while the onions were laid out in the sun ( and wind, and rain…) to dry. Rather a fine haul of onions this year – these grown from sets are much better than our meagre harvest from seed last year.

The leaves of the onions were just beginning to bend over, indicating their ripeness, although the majority were still mostly green and there was still a good few weeks’ growth left in some. Our main purpose in this slightly early harvest, however, was to reclaim the space; although not (yet) for more crops.

During our building and landscaping we have amassed various heaps of topsoil, mostly reclaimed from areas that have now been paved. The largest of these has become something of an obstacle to progress in the garden, standing where the north border should swell out from the fence towards the lawn, gradually accruing a coarse green coat of annual weeds.

Not to mention appearing to attract ladders, pipes and various other bits and pieces that are still waiting to be put away or disposed of.

We have decided to use this good topsoil to raise the level of the vegetable garden, as we have a scant spade-depth of soil on top of the pin rock of the hill below. In the ornamental garden this lack of depth is rarely a problem, but every inch counts when growing edibles. Accordingly we have been starting to combine the various heaps around the garden, and finally moving them barrow-load by barrow-load down to the vegetable beds as we clear them of crops, ready to spread once the beds are empty.

The first heap, located in place of the garlic which we harvested last month, has been joined by a neighbouring heap where the peas were growing. In danger of avalanche, the onions were then hastily reconvened on the bench in the greenhouse this weekend, allowing the heap to expand further. An oppportunistic gap between squashes and fennel has become yet another hill, with the arms of the squash relocated to wander up and over this peak.

The garden is starting to look as though we have been besieged by giant moles! All in a good cause, however, and this means that we are starting to free up the remaining space in the ornamental garden, which is perhaps the most exciting part of all.


15 thoughts on “Making Way

  1. It reminds me of one of those tile puzzles, where you have to slide the tiles around to make an image, but often have to move things to seemingly daft places in order to get it all to work! But your moving of piles is rather more energetic and energy consuming… The onions look great, and I bet you get even better crops next year with the deeper soil. Your collection of pallets, ladders etc. just made me jealous – I long for enough outdoor space to be able to have an area set aside for “probably useful in the future so we don’t want to chuck it” stuff… Horder? Moi?!

    • Hah yes very similar – and much more energy consuming indeed. I thought shovelling the 7 tonnes of topsoil from the road delivery to the front garden was hard work… Hmm we still have to find homes for our pile of ladders, pallets etc rather than keep on juggling them around the garden too, which is rather self-defeating at times. A skip should get rid of the last of the real junk which will make a difference too.
      You may end up with oodles of space in the near future, and I shall have garden/storage space envy 🙂 We’ve rather run out of hording space out there, although little piles of spare roof tiles/floor slates etc manage to slink in here and there. A ladder is a bit harder to lose though… 🙂

  2. I get impatient with crops being ready for harvesting as I want to get on with the next planting. You could use the pallets to make raised edges around the veg bed to keep the soil in

    • Yes, that’s usually me too! This time I have had to accept that I can’t plant anything more until we’ve finished building up the soil level. Good idea for the pallets: mini raised beds – though I suspect my husband will prefer them to be chopped for kindling as is currently planned. I’ll try and work on him though 😉

  3. We had one of these heaps at our last garden when we were setting out. It was known as “the snake” and I can’t remember how many times we moved it on before finally disposing of it! Back breaking work!
    Lovely onions. Ours always come better from sets. I found the seed so disappointing!

    • Ah, glad it’s not just us! It does feel as though we have shifted much of this soil around too many times already!
      We’re really pleased with the onions. I don’t think we’ll try seeds again; we found them disappointing too.

  4. What lovely onions you have, Madam! I’m definitely a set-man too. Or should that be a set-woman? Oh well, you know what I mean. Set-person?

    I’ve made a note of “a coarse green coat of annual weeds” and will use in due course…… hope you don’t mind a little flagrant plagiarism!


    • Ah most of them came with our paving stones, bags of sand etc for the landscaping. We have another stack from previous work in the house under the beech tree!

  5. Many happy hours barrowing soil around! This will be me in a few weeks as I’ve decided to split the 18’x6′ bed into two 18’x3′ beds – I can’t wait for the back-breaking work to start! Great onions as well.

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