Black Gold

During another busy weekend, we tackled more jobs around the garden. King of the Hill was particularly keen to turn out our compost heaps, and spread their goodness around the kitchen garden if it was workable.

Turning out compost heaps to spread around garden

Now I should confess that our compost heaps have been rather left to fend for themselves amidst the chaos of building works and subsequent recovery. KotH originally built two adjacent heaps from sawed up wooden pallets in a hot sunny corner at the bottom of the kitchen garden, and for more than a year we have been piling our garden waste on; first the left one, then the right.

Without aeration from turning, the heaps were left to break down themselves, but seem to have made a good job of it without interference. KotH distributed the contents of the left heap around the kitchen garden, ready to spread further once the plastic tarpaulins are removed, and the greenhouse borders. The topmost matter on the right heap was then turned into the left side, revealing more rather fine crumbly compost further down that heap too.

Pots of summer bulbs

We were impressed with the structure of our compost, dark and sweet smelling, slightly coarse still in places but full of goodness. After piling it around the garden, we filled some bags and tubs with excess, and I made use of a few bucketfuls to plant pots of summer bulbs, after spending some time first clearing out various overgrown containers around the greenhouse. Spare primroses from one of the stone pots were relocated to the edge of the grass verge out the front, to accompany those that I moved there when I split the primroses last year.

Heeled in blackcurrant bushes; planted bush

We worked together to plant out three Ben Sarek blackcurrant bushes that I had heeled into one of the vegetable beds when they arrived earlier in the week, and fed them with chicken manure. While KotH put the shredder to work on some branches and prunings, I raided the pile of already composted shreddings, that we keep separate from the compost heaps, to mulch the rows of raspberries.

Mulched rows of raspberry canes

This weekend also saw the first mowing of the grass, old and new. The scent of mown grass in the spring sunshine was intoxicating, and the results pleasing after the raggedy growth of late autumn. It is hard to believe that most of these areas were only sown or turfed in the autumn, after years buried beneath building debris.

My final tasks as the light began to drain from the sky on Sunday evening were to prune the buddleia and dig a curve of turf to mark the front edge of the field border. The front of this area that I reclaimed from the undergrowth, dug over and planted last summer had lazily blended into the lawn since we sowed grass seed up to the front of the planting. It was hard work for an aching body after a weekend of labour, but I was determined to at least mark the edge before night fell, and quickly dug along the rope I had curved on the ground earlier, loading the turf into a wheelbarrow. A strip of no-man’s land still sits between the new sharp edge and the front of last year’s planting, but now I can look out and see the full shape of the border to come, as well as the work still to do.

Digging out a curve of turf to define the edge of border and lawn

I am already itching for the next weekend to come so that I can complete this work, ready to plant the front of the bed. More planting space is always welcome, especially given the extensive lists of seeds already started rather hopefully in the greenhouse.

The weekend came to an end with quite a list of tasks still outstanding, but we certainly made good progress.

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8 thoughts on “Black Gold

  1. Wow you both were busy. I think you have to make the most of the good weather when it comes along though, especially if you can only get into the garden at weekends. A friend of mine is complaining that it’s always raining at a weekend and she never gets anything done in the garden.

    • Yes we try and get out in the garden for as long as we can each weekend – and still there are so many things still to do! We have been pretty lucky with the weather for a few weeks now, although the past three mornings have been swirling with fog. Mind you, we have long to-do lists in the house as well; a wet weekend would give us a chance to eat into those – there are really not enough hours!

  2. I always leave my compost to fend for itself with very little interference, and it never disappoints. The blessed Blackbirds have made a mess of my raised beds this week, scratching about in the freshly-distributed compost for bugs to eat.
    What sort of summer bulbs have you got?

    • Slow and steady, eh, who needs quick compost? There just aren’t enough hours in the day for turning compost heaps… Sorry about your blackbird attack.
      Summer bulbs? Ah. Well I bought and planted two different types of alliums about the garden in the autumn. Then I succumbed to one of these “zillions of bulbs when you just pay postage” offers, mostly for the 3 corms of Crocosmia Lucifer, which I planted in the border next to the one mum gave us last summer. Now I find myself left with lots of other bulbs… 5 Dutch iris, which I added to a large container which currently features spring bulbs, an ornamental grass and some trailing ivy; lots of sparaxis, which I planted thickly in the two stone pots pictured; Allium moly, which I have plans for… I still have some Brodiaea and Acidanthera to find homes around the garden for.

  3. Looks like good stuff Alison – my heap needs turning out too and I hope that there will also be some ‘black gold’ from the wormery. Just behind you with pruning the buddleias but the green waste bin is overflowing so will have to wait a few days. Always exciting to have new planting space!

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