Monday, 25 January 2010

The Revolution....and dull days

Well, the weather has been pretty wet and miserable again for the past few days. It seems to have done nothing but rain, or snow, since we moved to Blackgates and the weather continues to dampen my enthusiasm, along with the long dark nights!

Sunday marked the beginning of the compost revolution. I built a compost tumbler! I have always managed to make a large quantity of compost using the traditional method. Pallets nailed together in a square and just fill as the waste is produced, but this tumbler method claims to do in two weeks what a traditional heap does in six months…….we’ll see what happens. The tumbler (basically a fancy metal barrel on a stand) is rotated every day so as to mix the mixture. I have still followed my composting method of good ratio’s of nitrogen and carbon. For those looking confused now I’ll explain.

Plant material still green is the nitrogen part; the brown material is generally the carbon part (wood). If you find you have a shortage of carbon rich material, newspaper is a good substitute, especially in summer when you have an amount of grass clippings to compost. This paper prevents the sticky mess produced by too much grass in a compost heap. Once you have mastered the ratios just add the material as you garden, mix it in to the existing heap material a little, water it so it’s not too dry and cover it to keep the heat in (old carpet is good). It’s the heat that does the work. If nothing else, I’m great at composting.

The apple tree’s had a prune on Sunday. I really need to prune the plums but it’s too early yet, as the risk of silver leaf is still an issue due to cold and damp weather. The soft fruit is also due a good prune, as is the peach I have in the greenhouse. The peach needs a prune when spring arrives as I want to train it into a fan. However it’s a feathered whip at present so it will look pretty sad after I begin the process of training the fan. This will involve cutting it back to two opposing lateral stems about a foot from the base of the tree. Six foot to one foot in one cut with the loppers, bless it!

The miserable weather has given me time to think about the garden design and layout though. It’s going to be amazing I can tell you!

I do have an unhealthy love affair with this 'minds eye' of mine!
Take care, and make the most of that room outside.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

So, a first Blog.

I really did think this would be easy! After all, my mind is so full of things to write and share with others. But where do you start?

So, I figured a feed on my days activities, however interesting would be a good method. This would serve me as a 'diary log' for looking back on my year and would also help others by either learning from my mistakes or sharing my successes. I expect as I get more used to Blogging I might change my format but for now I'll just stick to something simple and try to update every few days.

Today was the first day in 2010 that I felt spring is not that far away. There is a smell in the air that I seem to pick up on, the smell of growth? The Iris and Narcissus are an inch out of the ground or pot, making that important mental picture of the display seem more real. It's no longer in my minds eye, it real now! I have started to get the Dahlias ready for starting into growth and have purchased the seeds for this garden year. Its all in gear now for a great year.

Looking forward, I have a great deal of design work to do at Blackgates. There is good mature planting to work around but the garden as it stands is just not me. It needs my design eye casting over it and more flow to the garden. There is a big lack of herbaceous border due to the previous owner prefering the gravel look. This also means the lawn was removed. A garden without lawn just isn't a garden to me. Lawns are less maintenance than gravel. If you have ever weeded 50 square metres of gravel you will be nodding with me on this! Therefore, the lawn situation needs immediate consideration.

Anyway, I feel like I'm babbling on a bit now so I'll leave it at that for my first Blog. I hope the weather is kind to me tomorrow!
Take care, and make the most of that room outside.