As spring draws nearer, and my double-dug ground finally defrosts after that second burst of cold weather and snow, I’ve gotten around to doing some of the last ‘big’ things before planting begins. Armed with some bamboo canes and a large roll of twine, I’ve created some trellis for my peas and support for the raspberry, blackcurrant, and gooseberry canes that Andy and I bought for Valentines. I think the canes for the peas might be a bit short, but I only had shortish pieces of bamboo; if need be I’ll find some way to add height later if the things actually manage to grow! Information I’ve been able to find tells me I won’t need large poles for my french dwarf beans if any support at all, so I’ll need to ‘wait and see’ before creating any structures or stakes for them.
At the base of each of the poles on my new pea-trellis I also added some cloches. I’m hoping to stick one or two peas out earlier than the others and this was recommended to warm the soil beforehand and give them a fighting chance. My cloches are leftover irn-bru bottles, stripped of their labels and bases, and pushed down into the soil. So far they’ve made excellent lidded ‘pots’, so I’m hopeful that they’ll be a useful, recycled gardening tool.
Another thing out in the garden under ‘bru bottle’ is one of the comfrey plants grown from the root I bought. It managed to spawn about 5 large plants and I have another pot with two smaller ones just coming up, too – not a bad ebay purchase! It’s residing up the back of the garden, near the fence which has pretty sad soil on top, but nicer stuff deep down and is a bit shaded for most plants. Comfrey likes shade and sticks its roots deep – so I’m hoping it’ll like it there.
I’ve been pondering building some sort of vertical unit to plant things in which need longer periods of sun, or will not fit well in the garden itself. An idea based on this bottle herb garden has come to mind – I still have some huge slats of timber threaded with holes from a unit which has since been ‘recycled’ to make the plant table we have in the kitchen. I just need to find some way to make it stable, and I’ll have a mobile, vertical growing wall.
I think I’m going to need to do a post with all of the recycled materials used in my little garden :)
Another cool thing I’ve gotten for the garden is coffee. After hearing of the many wonders of coffee grounds and, serendipitously, having Andy mention his works new coffee machine and how much coffee they drink, things came together wonderfully and I now have my first bin-ful of used coffee grinds. It’s a little 5-litre tub of garden-goodness and it smells lovely! I’ve mixed it into the compost heap, and am looking forward to more – apparently you can use it as up to 25% of your heap so long as you make sure to add enough rough brown material alongside. A big thanks to Andy’s work for letting me grab this cool stuff.
I really am loving how the small plot has gone from covered with stones, to flat soil, heavy dug-up soil and finally nicely raked, fertilised, fine soil. I finally feel like my garden might actually work. It’s been a relatively long-term project for me, given we moved in right at the end of last years summer season and it’s since been too cold to do much until recently. I’ve planned the garden layout, set things up, gotten seeds, made a calendar for planting and a garden layout plan to ensure I can fit what I want to grow.
Now I just need some sunlight…