Back in the Garden At Last!

It seems like a long time but yesterday I had my first proper day in the garden this year.  I decided to do battle with the enormous brambles in an overgrown thicket of shrubs at the back.

I want to get this out of the way before Spring arrives.  Obviously I don’t want to be clearing it once birds have decided it would make a good nesting spot.  Given  the number of spent nests I found it clearly is a desirable location.  Also I don’t want to give any of those bramble suckers a chance to make contact with the soil and root anew.  Some of them were over twenty-five foot long!  I had some fun whizzing them around my head like a lasso, they make a very satisfying whirring noise!

There’s going to have to be a fire I think.  Again we’re going to have to be wildlife savvy and check  that the heap that’s steadily piled up since last Autumn isn’t harbouring any hibernating hedgehogs.   Once I’ve chopped the plants back enough to see where they are sprouting some serious digging out is going to have to be done.  Followed by yet another fire to rid us of the evil roots!

It’s not the most fun you can have in a garden, and I was covered in thousands of tiny scratches by the time the day was out, but the whole time I sustained myself with daydreams of what might replace this brambly thicket.  The ground here might possibly be even enough and light enough for a polytunnel, now that’s exciting and will extend our growing opportunities no end.

The veg patch is looking a bit sad.  The sprouts, cabbages and remaining leeks  all look slightly poorly  after such a prolonged spell under freezing snow.  What did still look surprisingly good was the pak choi.  This is definitely on my list for sowing again this year.  Even now it just looks fresh and vibrantly green.  It tastes good raw or cooked and appears to survive anything the weather can throw at it – despite its delicate appearance it’s one hardy plant.

pakchoi

I sowed the pak choi straight into the soil and it had a very good germination rate.  I had to force myself to do a fair bit of thinning out.  We were surprisingly untroubled by slugs and snails last summer, but the pak choi I’m afraid was a slug magnet.  I laid beer traps.  These do work, but you have to make sure to cover them over with crocks to encourage the  slugs in.  The Man from Salford however has pointed out to me that the calories in the beer far outweigh the calories from the entire pak choi crop and that this surely is not sustainable practice?  Mmmmm!  Does he have a point or does he not want to share his beer?

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