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  • Yesterday's job was to attempt to tackle the annual weeds from the tunnel. This is harder than it sounds - I'd like to be able to hoe them off, but with horsetail in amongst, that is not an option.

    I started with the PSB in the middle of the tunnel and picked out every seedling I could find, dug out the horsetail as best I could, then mulched them with some of the horse muck/leaf mould mix. These are making nice strong plants even though they are still covered in whitefly (as are the other brassicas in the tunnel). The west side was much harder as I can only get at it from one side, and most of the plants are now really big. Next time the answer to this has to be to mulch it as soon as I plant things. I got some of the weed out but there are plenty more. The pathways are covered with a huge number of very tiny seedlings. When I'd had enough of bending down I picked some tomatoes and went home for an early lunch.

    Other parts of the plot (away from the raised beds and paths) are also growing large numbers of weeds. One area that I have had my eye on for a bit is the area outside the road end of the tunnel, where I have parked the blackcurrant and blueberry bushes in their pots. This had perennial flowers in it, and although the geraniums appear to have gone, there is another plant I don't recognise which hasn't been so easy to remove and was growing back quite strongly. I decided to dig this out, along with some horsetail. This was easier said than done, and took me over an hour. The plant has black creeping roots that look almost identical to horsetail - I'd have thought it was horsetail if it hadn't come up with leaves attached. It was making its way into the grass path and it was hard to see if I had got all of it out, but I dare say it will let me know if I haven't!

    That was all I had time for, so after checking that everything had enough water and picking a few raspberries, I went home.
    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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    • No time for anything yesterday except grabbing a few beans and nipping male flowers and yet more sideshoots off the rampant cucumbers in the tunnel.

      Today I wanted to get going early as it was forecast to be very showery. I was getting concerned about the number of annual weeds about the place, so I decided to have a blitz on them today. I started with the path between the compost bins and the tunnel - this has remained weed free for most of the summer apart from the odd bit of horsetail, but since the flood it has sprouted loads of weed seedlings, mainly sun spurge, grass and willowherb. I worked my way down the path with 2 trugs, one for annual weeds and one for horsetail, and got the whole thing weeded reasonably quickly. I could also lift the netting and weed the bit of the tunnel that is behind the plants on that side, which is so hard to get at from the inside of the tunnel. I then went round all the hedge bottoms pulling out horsetail and any annual weeds, removed some dead leaves from the rhubarb and pulled out some horsetail from under it and dug some large dandelions out of the grass path.

      By the time I'd done that I was tired and in need of a coffee, so I picked 2 courgettes, some peas, raspberries and a beetroot and went home.

      Looking at the radar I could see that I probably had an hour or so more of dry weather before things became increasingly dodgy. Thunder was in the forecast so I wanted to stay at home once the showers arrived. Therefore I went back as soon as I had finished my coffee (and checked work).

      The next job was to trim all of the long bits of grass under the hedges, which I wanted to do before the horsetail grew again. That done, I went back to removing some more weeds and horsetail from around the tomatoes.

      By the time I'd done that it was getting on for lunch time and the sky was becoming increasingly threatening, so I picked some tomatoes and a few lettuce leaves for lunch and went home feeling that I had got a decent amount done today and could reasonably spend the rest of the day doing bits in the garden at home in between the showers.
      Last edited by Penellype; 24-08-2018, 05:09 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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      • Early start this morning. I weeded the strawberry pots and potted up the runners that had rooted into MFBs and pegged down some more into small pots to root. I then decided to dig the path down the side of the tunnel as some horsetail was starting to sprout. I got about half way down the side of the tunnel before I ran out of time.

        I was back after lunch to finish the path - the bottom end was where I nearly got stuck in the mud after it was flooded. It was still remarkably wet in places, but hopefully turning the soil over will help it dry out a bit - although we are forecast rain tomorrow. I didn't find too much horsetail, but I am not going to get complacent about that! Having ended up at the raspberries, I then cut back some of the canes that had finished fruiting. About half of them have now finished, but there are still some fruit on the others.

        The next job was to go round all of the raised beds pulling out all the horsetail I could find. This seems to be getting easier, which probably means the stuff is finally slowing down a bit rather than that I have got rid of any of it, as I have only been pulling at it, not digging it out. The onion bed is starting to sprout lots of tiny weed seedlings, and I am going to have to either hoe or dig it soon, and just hope that I am not digging in hundreds of little bits of horsetail from next door's strimming. I can't see any bits, but I won't have removed all of them.

        I'm finally beginning to feel a bit more in control of this now. The hedges and hedge bottoms are tidy and have been weeded (except for the wildlife corner), the grass is cut and the raised beds are at least visually horsetail free. The strawberry bed and path by the tunnel have recently been dug and the rhubarb has been weeded. There is still horsetail in the tomato bed - I don't want to risk knocking the tomatoes off by trying to get it out. The tunnel is mostly weeded, with just the area under the romanesco and cucumbers to try to clear. The path by the compost bins is weeded, although there is some horsetail growing up through the weed matting into the compost.

        So, still a few jobs to do, but I don't feel overwhelmed by horsetail quite so much now as I did.
        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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        • Another early start as it was clear from the radar picture first thing that the rain was not far away.

          I started off by carefully pulling some of the horsetail I could reach out of the tomato bed, but the foliage was so thick that there was quite a lot in the middle that had to stay. I then tackled the weeds in the tunnel, digging out the horsetail I could get at and removing all the bigger annual weeds I could see. The huge romanesco made this quite difficult, and I noticed that one of the plants has quite a lot of caterpillar poo in the middle, but I couldn't find the culprit.

          The nettles in the wildlife corner were getting too big and leaning over the path, so I cut them back a bit. By the time I had finished it was starting to rain so I picked a cucumber, some tomatoes and a turnip and went home.

          The rest of the day was far too wet to do any more, so I made some jam out of strawberries from the plot that I froze earlier in the year.
          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, for the first time at the plot, I had to look for something to do! This was partly because everything was very wet after Sunday's rain.

            I collected up the water from the bin lids etc and tipped it into the water butt, then walked round looking at everything. I pulled out a couple of bits of horsetail from the leylandii hedge and dug out a few little bits that had sprouted in the tunnel since Sunday morning. I still couldn't find the caterpillar that has made a mess of one of the romanesco plants.

            One of the jobs I'd intended to do was remove the horsetail that was growing up inside the dalek that I am using to store what was fresh horse manure. Last time I looked (a while ago) there were several long white shoots showing and I have been intending to remove them. When I took the lid off there was quite a bit of horsetail, but it appeared to have been cooked and looked quite dead. I left it where it was for now rather than breaking it up by trying to pull at it. If it regrows I will know that it is only pretending to be dead!

            The nettles that I cut back on Sunday were again leaning over the path, presumably because they had been weighed down by the rain. I cut some more off them but they were too wet to get really stuck in. I need to clear this area properly really as the bottom is full of horsetail. Its one of those jobs where it is hard to clear the horsetail first without getting stung, but if you try to clear the nettles first you get horsetail bits everywhere.

            What else to do? I tied in some more raspberry canes that were flapping in the breeze and picked a beetroot, a couple of pods of peas, a few raspberries and all of the large beans from the runners. The ones that were clearly too big and tough went in the compost bin, but I still had a large bag full, and I can't eat that many beans. I'd just finished this when a lady who lives in one of the houses on the main road walked past and said hello. I asked if she liked beans but she said no. However one of the bus drivers was out on the pavement (its the terminus so they wait there for upto 10 minutes sometimes), so I gave him some instead, and went home for lunch.

            After getting on with a few jobs at home, I took some kohlrabi plants down in the afternoon and planted them in the brassica bed. I also planted out 6 leeks that I had rescued from the original leek bed when I dug it up to make the brassica bed. I'd put these (almost invisibly small having been chewed to nothing by slugs) into a pot and stuck it on the shelf in the tunnel, and they had finally grown into plants that were big enough to plant out (but by no means pencil thick). I put them next to the brokali in the tunnel, and they can survive or not as they wish.

            Its not that there is nothing to do. The plan for now was to dig over the onion bed again to remove horsetail roots. I just have a horrible feeling that if I do that I will simply dig in all the little bits of horsetail from the strimming and give myself an almighty problem later. I've left it for now (it is also too wet to dig) but something will have to be done at some point and I am rather at a loss as to how to tackle this situation. The same problem will arise with the bed next to it (the pea bed). The peas are nearly finished and the plan was to dig this bed too, as well as taking up the path between the 2 beds and making a really good job of removing every scrap of horsetail (of which there is plenty).

            So do I dig these beds as planned, or do I wait - for what? If I do nothing I will have beds full of horsetail again next year. I am really stuck as to what the best plan of action is.
            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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            • Horsetail, it really doesn't bother me or my crops. I pull it when it's big enough to get good bit of root out with it, that slows it down. It doesn't compete with much for nutrients or light, so I just live with it.
              He-Pep!

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              • I may have to live with it, but its not really my style. I think I will have to dig, because if I don't I will definitely have the same problem next year as I had this year, if I dig I might. Growth from little bits of leaf is probably easier to extract later than a huge network of interlinked roots a foot or more deep.
                Last edited by Penellype; 28-08-2018, 09:20 AM.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                Comment


                • Feel your pain.

                  Took over an abandoned plot in May that was over 75% covered in horsetail, so thick it was difficult to walk through. Currently digging out the roots after never seeing a shoot since July. Roots below 8 are still alive but everything else above that was killed by the compost accelerator.

                  It will take years to get it sorted but not a problem..

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                  • Things did not go to plan yesterday, as the man came to cut the top of the hedge at home, so I couldn't go out in the morning. When he had finished I just had time to nip down to the plot and pick a courgette and some lettuce for lunch. The lettuces (salad bowl) that I planted in the balconniere trough in the tunnel are doing superbly well and are much bigger and more productive than the ones I kept at home in pots under grow lights from the same sowing. They are also doing better than ones I planted in my friend's hotbed, which are being nibbled by slugs. I will definitely do this again.

                    The afternoon was similarly frustrating, with little jobs that needed to be done tying me to home while I waited for a response. I got gardening done - laws mowed, deadheading, freezing tomatoes and harvesting potatoes, but I hadn't enough time to go to the plot until evening. By then I was too tired to do anything but water things in pots, and it was starting to get dark anyway. The nights are noticeably drawing in now
                    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

                    Comment


                    • A better day today.

                      There were a few showers around in the morning, but looking at the radar I was pretty sure that I could spend a couple of hours at the plot before the next one arrived. I went round the whole plot (apart from the tunnel) and removed all of the horsetail that I could find - this has all grown in the past couple of days. It didn't take all that long, and I set off round again to remove all the annual weeds. I'd completely forgotten about the possibility of showers.

                      I was just weeding past the compost bins when I noticed a few spots of rain. It was nearly lunchtime, so I decided to pick some raspberries and go home. I'd picked just one fruit when the heavens opened and I had to take refuge in the shed. There hadn't been anything showing on the radar that looked that heavy, so this had popped up out of nowhere. It rained hard for about 5 minutes before easing off, at which point I legged it home.

                      I'd hoped that the grass at the plot would dry out enough to cut today, but after the rain that wasn't going to happen, so it will have to wait. I went back in the afternoon (when the sun came out) and continued with the weeding. I also picked up a bag full of bits of rubbish that had either blown or been thrown into the plot and put it in the roadside bin.

                      I pruned some more finished branches off the raspberries and picked all the ripe fruit, then picked the last 6 pods of peas and pulled the plants out. No more fresh peas this year . The pea bed is next on the list for digging out horsetail. I also picked a bag full of tomatoes, mostly Red Alert.

                      This evening I was back to do some watering and also to deliver some mushroom trays that I intend to grow winter salads in. A friend at the stables has a boyfriend who works at Tescos, and he got them for me .
                      A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                      • No gardening on Thursday.

                        Yesterday I intended to cut the grass, but after a chilly night there was such a heavy dew that it was very wet. I changed the plan for the morning and dug the onion bed instead. There was surprisingly little horsetail root except in the bit near the grass path and the edge near the path between this bed and the pea bed, which I had dug less than the other side - I was part way through digging this bed the day we got flooded. The soil was still very wet underneath. The plan now is to move the wooden surround to the pea bed so that it is close up against the brassica bed, covering the path (which I have now put back down) and the part of the onion bed that has less horsetail. I can then take up the path between the onion and pea beds completely and dig horsetail out of that more easily.

                        In the afternoon I was going to cut the grass, but decided to check the hedge line for horsetail growth first. That took me to the wildlife area, which was a mass of horsetail and nettles, obstructing access to the hedge corner, which needs cutting. I decided that it was a better use of my time to start to clear this. I cut back the nettles carefully, and teased out the horsetail. Clearing half of it took all afternoon, but it made a huge difference. There is a piece of the orange fencing covering a gap in the hedge, and I left that there with some nettles behind it. There is a pile of chopped wood under the hedge for wildlife - the only wildlife I came across were lots of snails, spiders and woodlice.

                        Its forecast to be a nice weekend, which is just as well as there is plenty more to do!
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                        • Loving following this thread Pen
                          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

                          Location....Normandy France

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                          • Took the camera down today for a beginning of the month update.

                            Two angles from the south side of the plot:

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                            Sarpo Axona potatoes starting to die down. Parsnips behind are getting too big for their net. There are also some yellow beetroot in there that need eating. Red Alert tomatoes in the bed behind are very floppy but producing huge numbers of fruit. Courgettes in the hotbed and tomatoes Oh Happy Day and Crimson Crush near the road are producing huge fruit. The runner beans are doing well but the yellow french beans are nearly finished. Peas have been removed and bed is ready to clear. The onion bed has been dug and there are turnips, swede, kohlrabi and a savoy cabbage under the nearest net.

                            Two angles from the road end:

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                            Rhubarb, nasturtiums under the beans. The 2nd photo shows the new raspberry canes, which are nearly as tall as the leylandii hedge.

                            Along the roadside:

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                            Grass needing cutting - I did this after the photo was taken. This gives a better view of the enormous number of huge tomatoes. The lettuces in the balconniere trough are on the shelf in the tunnel. At the far end of the grass path is the wildlife corner which has partly been cleared - I did some more this afternoon.
                            A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                            • In the tunnel:

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                              From the road end, on the left are beetroot and leeks. In the middle brokali and on the right are the rampant cucumbers and huge romanesco.

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                              From the shed end, calabrese and romanesco on the left, calabrese and PSB in the middle, more beetroot this side of the leeks on the right. At the door end are the gooseberry in its pot and the lettuces on the shelf.

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                              The compost area, already shady at around 2pm. There are pots of strawberries littered about here.

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                              I couldn't resist a close up of the ridiculous tomatoes.

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                              These are some of the Oh Happy Day (top) and Red Alert tomatoes from the allotment.
                              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 I had intended to clear the pea bed and start digging, but with that area of the plot in full sun, on a warm and humid day I simply couldn't face it. I removed the stakes and mesh and moved the upper wooden layer back over the onion bed, then decided to leave the rest for a cooler day.

                                Instead I finished removing the nettles and horsetail from the wildlife area, which now looks much tidier. Then I went home to cook some of the tomatoes for the freezer.
                                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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