Wrapping Up

The past week has brought us a welcome run of clear autumn days, happily coinciding with our plans.

After two years of intense building and renovation work upon the house, undertaken alongside our full time jobs, last winter found us fairly shipshape at last. We took a much-needed break, and turned our attentions to the outside, where we have spent the spring and summer structuring the garden with both hard and soft landscaping as time has allowed. With the days drawing shorter once again, our attentions turn once more to our home, and the spaces left unfinished.

With this in mind, we planned several days of leave last week. We had hoped for dry days and were rewarded with sunshine, so that we could use the terrace as our workspace for most of the carpentry; cutting wood and other materials outside where the  piles of sawdust were much easier dealt with than they would have been indoors.

With King of the Hill and a carpenter working together for a couple of days; measuring, preparing, constructing and fitting, the majority of my time was free to continue preparing the garden for winter. I finished planting the remaining spring bulbs, sanded and oiled our outside table and chairs several times, potted plants up and on, picked the last tomatoes, chillies and cucumber and tidied the greenhouse and the path around it, washed all our empty pots, modular trays and seed trays in a solution of outdoor disinfectant, weeded, sowed broad beans to overwinter (Aquadulce Claudia) and the first garlic, Sprint…

Together we tidied up the strawberry bed one evening, and potted up about 80 runners as the light faded. We never quite get around to potting up the runners in situ during the growing season, and always end up severing them from their parent plant as we sink them into their own pot of compost, so that they take their chances independently. They are robust plants, roots already thrusting out eagerly in search of water, and we lose surprisingly few through this rather brutal method.

It has been a furious whirlwind of activity here, with long days of hard work from sunrise to sunset.  We intended to have a day off on Sunday, yet somehow found ourselves swept up with yet more work, digging up the paths around the vegetable beds and laying leftover turves of grass along them. We did, however, manage to steal away for a few hours late in the day, to explore some of the joys of autumn away from home, which I hope to share with you later in the week.

Overnight, the rains have fallen, breaking the spell with uncanny timing. Indoors, there is a catalogue of work still to do, from plumbing to painting, but we have made a good start, and the garden is the most organised that it has ever been.

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17 thoughts on “Wrapping Up

  1. Heavens above – I bet you are exhausted after that flurry of activity – I ony managed to dig up all the dahlias before I had to lay down in a darkened room
    to recover – but then again, I am pretty ancient.

  2. Wow sounds like a lot of hard work. I feel like a sit down just reading about all that activity. I’m just debating whether to try broad beans next year. We tried them once, in the garden, before we had our plot but weren’t impressed because to get a decent amount you do need to devote quite a bit of space to them.

    • We love growing broad beans: their flavour is so good picked fresh and young. We were plagued with blackfly this year for the first time, so we’re trying an autumn sowing to see if the earlier crop beats the bugs.

    • Yes it was incredibly well-timed, especially as it started raining on Sunday evening and on and off yesterday. We’d expected to have to put up a cheap gazebo on the patio in order to work outside.

    • It feels so good to be able to wander down the garden without the usual clench of guilt at all the jobs still to be done – there are only a handful of non-critical tasks remaining now. Though when I draw up a list it will probably surprise me…

  3. Good grief Sara, like the others I am exhausted just reading about all that activity! I am very impressed at you washing all your pots up, I hate doing it so it always falls to the bottom of the chores list and hey, guess what, often just doesn’t get done. I then wind up feeling hopelessly guilty come Spring when I am brushing our dried dirt before potting up young plants. I do tend to follow Alys Fowler’s example of putting seed trays and plug trays in the dishwasher to clean…

    • It was good to make the most of my time off – and the unexpected freedom of being outside when I had expected to be indoors painting shelves and walls and suchlike. I must confess that this is the first time that I have washed all the pots and trays at once, and in disinfectant, especially before storing them. In the spring I made a great mess giving several dozen pots a quick scrub at the sink for re-use; it feels good to be on top of it this year, though it was four hours standing in a cold strong wind that I would rather have spent doing more enjoyable things! 🙂 The seed and plug trays were my least favourite, I do rather like the dishwasher idea, if I can get away with it!

      • I recommend the dishwasher, though I have learnt that I need to just take over the complete machine, the argument that a little soil is no worse than a lot of pork fat doesn’t seem to cut much ice with the rest of the household!

        • Indeed, I can foresee a discussion about clogging up filters which I will have to dance through before I can take possession of our machine! Will plan my arguments wisely…

  4. Ok now you are showing off with your pot washing – outrageous to be so organised!!!

    How nice to have some time to do those jobs instead of trying to squeeze them in here and there

    • lol, I’m never this organised, it’s a source of wonder to me. 🙂 It is a great relief to feel on top of things in the garden, I suspect it will be short-lived so I am enjoying it while it lasts! The greenhouse glass could really do with a proper scrub too, but I didn’t quite get that far. Perhaps over the winter, some bright weekend…

  5. I am full of admiration! So much done in such a short time. I never get arounf to washing my pots, even though I know I should. Enjoy your feeling of being on top of things you deserve it. Christina

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