Sunday 4 July 2010

The Salvage Begins

At the end of last week we started the task of salvaging something from our neglected garden. Deciding where to start was a mammoth task in itself but at the time there was still some shade at the bottom of the garden so the carrots and leeks won the silent argument in my head. Garden Lass made herself comfortable in her bouncy chair in a shady corner and watched us work, encouraging us every now and then to sing nursery rhymes as we pulled away at the many, many weeds. Meanwhile, Garden Girl and Garden Boy did a fantastic job of pulling up weeds. It wasn't hard for them to distinguish the weeds from the carrots and leeks. Anything big could be uprooted, anything small and spindly could stay! They filled Garden Boy's wheelbarrow up over and over again then wheeled the weeds to the bucket placed at the other end of the garden just so they could wheel the full wheelbarrow. Transferring weeds from the barrow to the bucket occasionally also involved throwing the weeds over each others heads but always with giggles and I was heartened at the end of the day to have at least one weed free raised bed and three happy Garden Helpers. I was less heartened by what remained in the soil when the weeds were removed.
I am hoping that if I thin out the carrots and replant the thinnings in the gaps where nothing grew they will suddenly have a growth spurt with all the extra room. A week later this still remains a job to do as the soil has been so compacted and dry I haven't wanted to risk damaging the roots. Although we have been watering them well in the evenings this has been quite late due to Garden Lass requiring most attention between 7 and 11 at night so we haven't been able to thin out after a watering session. A really good overnight downpour would be perfect around about now.

Last weekend then, after Garden Boy's delayed birthday trip to the zoo on Saturday, we left the carrots and leeks for a while and moved onto the many squash plants still sitting in three inch pots. Garden Dad spent Sunday morning pulling up weeds, bolted salad leaves and bolted spinach. Then he planted some of the squash amongst the sweetcorn and Frensh beans to finally make the two sisters, three. After lunch he took over baby duty and I headed out into the sunshine to plant the rest of the squash in the space freed up by the bolted spinach and then I moved onto the tomatoes, 26 of which now fill the centre raised bed. As we tucked in to our strawberries and raspberries on Sunday evening we felt satisfied with our efforts and hopeful that something will be salvaged from April's hard work.

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