The long weekend gave plenty of opportunity to get out into the garden, including two welcome days of mostly-sunshine. The wind was icy despite the sun’s best attempts, but there was a sense of exhilaration working in its strong blasts.
After weeding the raspberry patch, and digging out the wayward canes springing up between rows to give to a relative, I found it gratifying to accentuate the newly re-defined rows with a thick spread of mulch, the remains of which I also spread across the feet of our young beech hedge. The mulch originated from the shredded branches of last year’s pruning, left to rot all year in the shade of the boundary plum trees. As I dug out spadefuls of the lovely crumbly mulch, it was pleasingly full of fat wriggling worms.
The most satisfying tasks are often those with immediate visual impact, another of which was my start at digging over the vegetable beds ready for this year’s planting. While I turned over the soil, pulling out the creeping buttercup and grass and other weeds that were already insinuating their way across the ground, King of the Hill was deep in the midst of construction work on the lawn.
Our first serious project for the new growing season was to construct and install a cold frame, to give our crops a head start, protected from the wind and the lowest temperatures. After several hours of hard work, the proposed site was prepared and the initial framework built. We staggered up the garden with the partial structure, which King of the Hill then completed in position with the aid of some reclaimed greenhouse glass, weighted down with stones overnight for the sealant to set.
To accommodate this new – and rather handsome – structure, as well as clearing the weeds, I had to dig up the cavalo nero which were in flower (stripping off all the young leaves to take up to the kitchen), along with most of the standing leeks. We’ll be eating a lot of leeks this week, but I don’t think that will be a problem!
The following day, the stones were removed and the frame was leveled further to compensate for the slight incline of the garden. We’re really pleased with the cold frame, which is fairly sizeable (its shortest dimension being just under a metre and a half) with plenty of space to hopefully provide some early crops protected from the worst of the weather.
And doesn’t it look professional? King of the Hill has done us proud! The panels are easy to slide sideways to give air flow (hinged or propped open lids would be dangerous here with our winds) though we are thinking of alternatives to automate this more as the temperatures grow. We’ll leave the ground to warm up this week, then sow our first seeds in here at the weekend. He’s already thinking about making another unit if this one is successful here…