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  • The snow helpfully held off until about 11am, allowing me to get another 2 car loads of horse muck into the hotbed. That was enough to fill it full enough when trampled down. I now need to add some of the used compost from last year's plants and find a large piece of bubble wrap to cover it with, and leave it to heat up.

    There was just time for a couple of photos before snow stopped play:

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    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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    • Looking very tidy indeed!

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      • Current plan (subject to change) is to complete the hotbed as soon as possible and plant it up in early February with beetroot, carrots (apparently you can do this, it will be interesting to see if they fork in all that muck), spinach and salads. This lot will probably be followed by courgettes, but I might change my mind later.

        The bed next to the hotbed will grow runner and climbing french beans and sugar snap peas (the variety I have says it grows 7ft tall) - these want to be at the north end of the plot so they are only shading the rhubarb.

        The 2 beds down from the hotbed near the tunnel are not at all level and need some work, the path between them also needs levelling. The one nearer the hotbin is earmarked for tomatoes, which should give me plenty of time to sort it out. The other may end up with buckets of potatoes, meaning that it doesn't need to be filled with muck this spring.

        The bed that is already filled will grow early peas and possibly some beetroot, the next one down (with cardboard and bricks at the moment) is the next on the list to be finished. The rotted muck that is currently in the blue tubs and sacks near the hedge will go in here with some leaves, paper and any grass, nettles etc. I can find, and this will grow onions.

        The next pair of beds are not too far off ready. These are earmarked for things like leeks, parsnips, carrots and baby fennel.

        The 2 beds nearest the hedge need lots of work digging out grass and perennial roots as these are going to grow fruit. This is going to take some time.

        Now I just need to finish planning what I am going to put in the tunnel. I have 8 metres length and 3.3 metres width, so I can have 2 beds about 2ft (600mm) wide at the sides, 2 paths 2ft wide and a central bed about 2ft 10 in (900mm) wide for taller plants. That gives me getting on for 24 metres of growing space

        Current possibilities include: PSB, calabrese, brokali, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, swede and turnips, all of which I was intending to grow at home this year, but can now free up some buckets for other things. I might also try romanesco. There should be plenty of room for more carrots - the horses can eat them if I end up with too many. I might find that I can cover one side of the tunnel with weed suppressant and leave it like that all year without being short of space.

        The tunnel seems an ideal place to put a cold frame or cloche for hardening off and a water barrel to save me having to walk all the way to the other end every time I need to fill a watering can. How I fill the barrel is of course open to question.
        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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        • Do you know what was grown in the tunnel last year?

          Might make a good spot for early salad items too, as well as other leafy greens such as spinach and the like. Same for the end of the season.
          Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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          • The road end of the tunnel had shallots in it, otherwise there wasn't much of a clue, except for hawthorn suckers, some couch grass, willowherb and loads of horsetail. From the height of the weeds it may not have had much grown in it last year.
            Last edited by Penellype; 21-01-2018, 08:36 PM.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Penellype that's just amazing progress, and it all looks so good!!!

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              • It might not look so good if all the horsetail grows up through the weed matting - I felt I had to take that risk as I don't think I will ever get rid of it all. I decided that apart from where I am growing fruit bushes I was not going to dig it all over before putting down the raised beds. I've never done it like this before so it will be interesting to see what happens.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                • We have a lot of horsetail on our plot. While digging deep and carefully pulling out all the roots does help, from my experience it doesn't eradicate it. It hasn't grown through basic weed matting on our plot, and where there's open soil, I've come to realise that although it's ever-present, it hoes off easily and doesn't seem to impede growth or out-compete any crops.

                  Through a combination of digging, weeding, hoeing, covering, liming and improving, the general trend is a reduction in horsetail, and I'm learning to co-exist with what's left.

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                  • Originally posted by 1Bee View Post
                    We have a lot of horsetail on our plot. While digging deep and carefully pulling out all the roots does help, from my experience it doesn't eradicate it. It hasn't grown through basic weed matting on our plot, and where there's open soil, I've come to realise that although it's ever-present, it hoes off easily and doesn't seem to impede growth or out-compete any crops.

                    Through a combination of digging, weeding, hoeing, covering, liming and improving, the general trend is a reduction in horsetail, and I'm learning to co-exist with what's left.
                    Amen to that!
                    It will certainly grow through porous matting, sheet does seem to stop it (although if you lift the sheet up, you will see spirals of it as it tries to find a way through).
                    Mowing helps too.

                    One thing that I've found is that if you pull up one stalk, it puts two new ones up, but they tend to be a bit thinner. If you pull some out, it's worth fishing round in the soil to find the next ones and pull them out. But if you do that, bear in mind it will put more up, so you need to pull them up. But if you repeat this, it does tend to exhaust itself more quickly.

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                    • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                      The snow helpfully held off until about 11am, allowing me to get another 2 car loads of horse muck into the hotbed. That was enough to fill it full enough when trampled down. I now need to add some of the used compost from last year's plants and find a large piece of bubble wrap to cover it with, and leave it to heat up.

                      Looking good - Well done

                      how about a Mini Poly Tunnel with Blue pipe and plastic?

                      Same size frame as you beds, so you can easily move it. Couple ropes over top to stop blowing away.
                      Early cut and grow again / salad leaves perhaps
                      Last edited by 4Shoes; 22-01-2018, 04:16 PM.

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                      • The bubble wrap is now on the bed - I found an 8m piece that I knew I had somewhere, so its 3 layers thick. I've got one of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 which I am going to put over the hotbed when I have put on the top layer of compost. The bubble wrap is to insulate the top more closely to build up the heat without it being lost - I can't grow plants under it.
                        Last edited by Penellype; 22-01-2018, 04:43 PM.
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                        Comment


                        • A bit restricted as to what I could do today as everything was covered with frozen half melted slush which was trying to thaw. Covered the hotbed with bubble wrap as above and filled the onion bed with rotted horse muck and leaves. There was some muck left so that and the last bag of leaves went in the bottom of the bean bed - I now need to get some more.

                          The water butt was full again so I bucketed some into the blue barrel, but I am running out of storage. My main difficulty with water butts is fitting the tap - it is seriously difficult to do this without another pair of hands and I am not at all confident I could get it watertight. I also wasn't sure if a water butt would fit in my car. Having rung Wickes and had a chat to someone about this problem I came to the conclusion that I would be better with 2 90 litre dustbins, which they sell for 12 each (their 200l water butt is 30 and the tap needs fitting) as I can definitely get these in the car. So I went to Wickes. Despite the computer saying that there were plenty of dustbins in stock, there weren't any.

                          Luckily B&Q is just round the corner from Wickes, so I went there via Tesco (for food) and Costa Coffee (for a large bag of used coffee grounds) and Wilko to see if they had any dustbins, but theirs were 12.50 and were only 70 litres. B&Q had plenty of dustbins, but they had been stacked in such a way that the tops and lids were all distorted and it would be impossible to keep a lid on, and they were 14. I could get a 210 litre water butt for 28 and when I looked at them they had the taps ready fitted. I persuaded them to let me try to get it in the car before I paid for it (it fitted quite easily with the back seat down) and finally got it to the plot about an hour later than I'd hoped.

                          There wasn't time to do anything else except dump the water butt and coffee grounds at the plot and come home. At least most of the snow has now gone, but it is once again very muddy.
                          Last edited by Penellype; 22-01-2018, 05:08 PM.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                          • Have yersel a day off lass.............you deserve it. You know what they say about all work and no play............
                            My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                            to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                            Diversify & prosper


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                            • Originally posted by Snadger View Post
                              Have yersel a day off lass.............you deserve it. You know what they say about all work and no play............
                              Ahh, but this IS play!
                              A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                              • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
                                Ahh, but this IS play!
                                I somehow KNEW you were going to say that!
                                My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                                to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                                Diversify & prosper


                                Comment

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