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  • Originally posted by Penellype View Post

    Furious, I came home and wrote a vitriolic email to Westland asking how a near 60 year old woman was expected to lift 90l bags of compost, saying they had lost a customer, and that discontinuing the 50l bags was a stupid thing to do.
    Forget being nearly 60 Im 20 years younger and after wrist surgery a few years ago Id not be able to lift the 90l either so they will have lost more customers than they realise!

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    • Better day today, although most of what I did wasn't at the allotment - I spent the morning planting onions at my friend's, emptying her old hotbed into buckets for potatoes and then making a hotbed at home with the proceeds of mucking out.

      After lunch I went down to the plot, which is still very squelchy. The fleece has stayed put and there are no more unwelcome presents from cats. I chopped all the thorns off the big pieces of hawthorn that I had pruned off last week and put the branches on the wood pile. I hate thorny branches.

      After that I chopped a bit more of the weed pile, then had a chat with a lady on one of the other allotments - the first time I have seen anyone else actually doing anything there.
      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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      • More rain

        Actually it was a mix of drizzle and heavier bits, which made it more sensible to garden at home where I could retreat indoors when it got too wet. I therefore spent most of the day rearranging stuff in preparation for the incoming cold spell.

        I did walk down to the plot in a drier slot in the afternoon, mainly to empty the water out of the dustbin lids and wheelbarrow into the water butts. The whole place was squelchy and slippery. The forecast is for a drier and breezy day tomorrow, so hopefully it will dry things up a bit.

        Took some photos of progress while I was there:

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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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        • Originally posted by Penellype View Post
          More rain

          Actually it was a mix of drizzle and heavier bits, which made it more sensible to garden at home where I could retreat indoors when it got too wet. I therefore spent most of the day rearranging stuff in preparation for the incoming cold spell.

          I did walk down to the plot in a drier slot in the afternoon, mainly to empty the water out of the dustbin lids and wheelbarrow into the water butts. The whole place was squelchy and slippery. The forecast is for a drier and breezy day tomorrow, so hopefully it will dry things up a bit.

          Took some photos of progress while I was there:

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          Your doing a great job...especially on that West side hedge....i'd suggest you cut it right back on your side, it wont be the most appealing on the eye for a while , but it will green up again,slowly and eventually, as ALL neighboring Leylandi it grows both sides despite being planted from one side.....!!!
          Your Neighbours hedge as probably encroached on your side by at least 50,60,70cm ,maybe more from the boundary posts.
          Gp
          Never Let the BAD be the Enemy of the GOOD

          Conservation and Preservation for the Future Generation

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          • Originally posted by geepee View Post
            Your doing a great job...especially on that West side hedge....i'd suggest you cut it right back on your side, it wont be the most appealing on the eye for a while , but it will green up again,slowly and eventually, as ALL neighboring Leylandi it grows both sides despite being planted from one side.....!!!
            Your Neighbours hedge as probably encroached on your side by at least 50,60,70cm ,maybe more from the boundary posts.
            Gp
            Yes, I'm cutting it back as far as I can sensibly manage. The bare stuff at the bottom is hawthorn, some of which has grown up through the leylandii and is making trees. I'm trying to cut down the long hawthorn branches so that the hawthorn finishes at the top of the bit you can see and everything above that is leylandii or other trees, but its really difficult especially as one of the hawthorn branches is about 2 inches thick and very tall. I'm worried that if I cut through it it may fall on the neighbour's car! I'm waiting for the ground to dry/freeze solid enough to stand a step ladder on it.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Westland have emailed saying that they still do their 50 litre bags of MPC and advising me to find a different source. Not quite sure what's happened but clearly there is a misunderstanding somewhere - I will ask at the garden centre next time I go.
              Last edited by Penellype; 20-02-2018, 05:42 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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              • Nice afternoon (if a bit breezy) at the plot, allowing me to just about finish the west hedge. There are still some bits that I need a step ladder for and a few hawthorn trunks that need a pruning saw, but I feel somewhat more in control of it than I was.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                • I bet the people travelling on the double deckers will notice a difference!
                  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
                    I bet the people travelling on the double deckers will notice a difference!
                    I sometimes wonder what they are thinking when I am standing there in the drizzle chopping weeds with scissors, pruning a huge hedge with secateurs or heaving trugs of horse muck out of the car in the snow! They are probably saying to each other "There's that mad woman again - I wonder what she is going to do next".
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                    • Forgot to mention that I also checked the hotbed today and took the fleece off the surface, as it was wet through and I thought it might encourage mould. 2 of the 3 sorts of lettuce have now germinated and the thermometer says the temperature in the horse muck is 15C. it certainly feels nice and warm in there.
                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                      • Yesterday was a nicer day than expected (really quite warm) and the plan was to tackle the pile of leylandii branches and chop them into small enough pieces to spread on the paths. Very much easier said than done as the wretched things seem to defy any attempt to chop them quickly.

                        With welcome help from geepee, who brought some loppers on a long pole, we managed to cut down the large hawthorn and leylandii branches that were growing through the top of the west side hedge, and it now looks much better and should let in a lot more afternoon sunshine.

                        I spent most of the afternoon chopping up the large pile of hawthorn branches. I put the chopped bits and thorns under the hedge in the corner, where there was a gap that someone could possibly have crawled through. There is now about a 1ft high pile of extremely prickly chopped wood in that gap, so anyone attempting to get in that way will know about it! The thicker branches went on the wood pile.

                        Having had a poke at the beds at the hedge end of the plot (which I am desperate to clear of perennial weeds so I can plant raspberries) I decided it was dry enough to dig. I peeled back the central path to make one long bed, and moved the wooden edges, which are going elsewhere. I then dug the whole thing and got rid of a fair amount of horsetail roots. Hopefully I will get time to go over it again before it freezes solid.

                        The hotbed is getting warmer and was nearly at 20C yesterday. The spinach has germinated now. It will be interesting to see how the temperature holds up when the cold weather arrives.
                        Last edited by Penellype; 22-02-2018, 08:12 AM.
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                        Comment


                        • All systems go today, trying to beat the freeze. Luckily I was able to get most of the day off work.

                          Took some large pieces of bubble wrap down and tied them round the various water butts and dustbins that are holding water. It would be a dreadful shame to have them split through freezing solid, so I am now happy that I have done all I can in that department.

                          I then set about the bed next to the rhubarb, which has been growing various sorts of flowers. I removed the bits of wood and string that were supporting the hollyhock flower stems, then cut all these down so I could get at things a bit better. Trimmed back the edge of the grass along the rhubarb and this new bed, and found it was a very odd shape. Planted a few bits of rooted grass along the edge to straighten it a bit. Then I started digging. The rhubarb end was fairly easy as it had originally had the green composter there. Surprisingly I dug most of the bed before lunchtime, removing bluebell bulbs, which I planted under the hedge, hollyhocks with roots like parsnips (which I tried to plant under the hedge), a trug full of weeds and stalks and a smaller trug of couch grass roots, horsetail roots and dandelions.

                          After lunch I took my pruning saw and cut through 4 thick hawthorn trunks that we cut the tops off on Wednesday - these are now level with the top of the hawthorn hedge rather than the top of the leylandii. Then I went back to digging and finished the bed I was working on earlier. This is where I am going to plant my blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, so I want to get it as weed free as possible. Finally I spent half an hour chopping up the weeds I had removed and some of the pile that was there from earlier. There is still plenty to do.

                          Hopefully later this weekend I will get a chance to dig through the bed again, along with the raspberry bed I dug on Wednesday, to remove more roots.
                          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                          • Not a huge amount of time today, which was probably just as well after yesterday.

                            Checked the bubble wrap was still in place around the water butts, which it was. Chopped up a little of the leylandii and some of the weeds, but my hands really ave had enough of that for now and I soon gave up.

                            Dug the east side of the raspberry bed to and including the bit that was the central path, removing horsetail roots as I went. There were surprisingly few of these - this is the 2nd dig through this end and means that I have dug the whole bed twice now. Either I have got most of the root out or I haven't managed to find it - the 3rd option, that there isn't any, seems highly unlikely. By the time I'd finished this my back had had quite enough digging and I went home.

                            I'm becoming quite nervous about the prospect of significant snow this week. The eastern side of the country seems likely to get the most of the showers and I think we will be very lucky indeed to miss them all. There is a possibility that we will get stuck under a "snow streamer" which is a line of showers giving very large accumulations of snow. I don't think the mesh tunnel will take several inches of snow on top without collapsing, which would be a great pity.

                            I had a good look at it today. There are 3 lengths of mesh covering it, 2 side pieces and a central top. I think I will have to cut through the cable ties that secure the top mesh (which is in 2 pieces) and let each piece drop down at the ends of the tunnel, probably weighted down so it doesn't blow about. I'll then have to find a way of putting it back up, preferably with a different method of securing it to make it less destructive to take off. I'm thinking perhaps "sewing" it to the side pieces with a length of fishing line woven in and out, which I could then pull out from one end of the tunnel to release the top mesh. This would give a better seal than at present - I noticed with the easterly wind that quite big gaps were opening up between the sides and top on the east side (it is more sheltered from the west).

                            Of course the polythene tunnel over the hotbed (and the similar one at home) may also not cope with any significant snow, but as they are doing a vital job protecting my plants from the vicious forecast windchill, they will have to stay put. If they collapse I will have to think of a plan B.
                            Last edited by Penellype; 24-02-2018, 05:48 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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                            • I’m exhausted just reading this.

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                              • Another gorgeous sunny day, although distinctly chilly. I took some photos of progress.

                                This one shows the bed next to the rhubarb, which I dug on Friday:

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                                The blackcurrant bush in the pot will eventually be planted somewhere around where it is now. In the background is the hedge that has been pruned recently, although it is hard to see how much we cut off because the far side has been similarly neglected. The white pole highlights the very strange shape to the edge of the grass path, which I have built up with soil and tried to fill in with clumps of grass.

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                                This one shows the raspberry bed (far end), the raised bed sides having been stacked on the 2 beds that are not covered with fleece. These are easily moveable but they can stay where they are for now. The plant in the pot is the gooseberry, which will eventually be planted near the blackcurrant. Next door's pieces of grey plastic keep blowing onto my plot.

                                My water butts are snugly wrapped in bubble wrap:

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                                Spinach (left) and lettuce are looking happy in the hotbed:

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                                Eventually there should be a row of carrots between these. The stake in the middle was put there to hold up the fleece (now removed).

                                Today's important job was to remove the top piece of netting from the tunnel, as a substantial amount of snow this week is looking increasingly likely. With the aid of a pointed pair of scissors I managed to remove all but 3 of the cable ties without having to cut them. I left the ends attached and dropped the netting down inside the frame, weighted down so it doesn't blow about. Hopefully the sides slope enough for any large amounts of snow to fall off before it gets too heavy.

                                This is what it looks like now:

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                                After lunch I went back to the plot. I didn't want to chop more weeds as my hands got really sore very quickly yesterday and my back was protesting at the idea of digging, but I'd thought of something else I could usefully do. I wanted to get the black composter off the pile of compost and round the back of the tunnel as the green one was nearly full.

                                I set about the thing with a fork, trying to ease it upwards. I could get the fork under the edge ok, but it wouldn't come off. I went round all the sides and the back, easing it loose, but the compost was so solid it appeared to have stuck to the sides and was holding the bin down. I had no option but to try to dig it out from the top and through the hatch. It was an interesting mix, containing such varied items as plastic packets, an old sock, loads of tea bags, plastic laminate from chipboard, a couple of broken clothes pegs and an old razor, as well as the more conventional string, plant labels, sticks, horsetail roots, daffodils, a large bramble, couch grass, compost and soil.

                                I filled my 4 blue containers that have been so useful for collecting horse muck, and half filled 5 compost sacks (as heavy as I could lift) before finally I could move the bin and lift it off the remainder of the pile. Behind it I found its lid - a bonus, as the green bin hasn't got one. I moved it onto the compost area and decided to fill it by turning the contents of the green bin into it. I had a feeling that this was getting too wet at the bottom and I wanted to add more paper and keep the snow off if possible, so putting it in a bin with a lid was ideal. It didn't take too long to turn it and I was right, it was getting far too wet and compacted at the bottom. It was already starting to rot down in places, and some of the grass was starting to grow (not unexpected). I'm happy that it is now in a much better state to make me some nice compost. The green one is now empty, but I doubt it will stay that way for long.

                                Finally I covered the remains of the pile of compost with an old plastic tablecloth to stop it from getting too wet. This compost will go into the potato buckets, where I can keep an eye on it and remove any nasty weeds relatively easily.

                                I might get a chance to do something tomorrow, depending on work and whether or not it is snowing. Otherwise I have a feeling that apart from walking down to check on the state of the snow, that will be it for a while.
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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