Monday, 5 September 2011

An Angry Bee = A Tidy Greenhouse



This weekend we started tidying the garden up a bit. Autumn isn't quite here yet but the leaves are beginning to scatter the lawn and some of our crops have finished producing fruit. The broad beans which were so abundant earlier in the year had actually finished before we headed away on our camping trip but we hadn't got around to clearing them. I chopped them back, leaving about 5cm stem behind. Although broad beans are very easy to uproot it is beneficial to leave a short stem behind as they add valuable nitrogen to the soil.

While I chopped, Garden Lass ferried stems to Garden Girl, who piled them all into the green bin. Pirate Garden Boy, meanwhile, was helping Garden Dad dig for the last of the potato treasure. We then moved onto digging up carrots and the last of the spring onions. The idea had then been to dig over the soil and mulch it but we unearthed a Queen Bee while we were digging who didn't take very kindly to being disturbed. She flew in angry circles above the carrot patch for a very long time afterwards so we thought it better to stay away. We sat on the lawn and trimmed the greenery from the carrots and spring onions, then enjoyed an ice lolly while we waited for the bee to calm down, which she didn't.

Unable to continue with the digging, we decided to get to get to work on the greenhouse. We tidied up all the toys, buckets and kids gardening tools. Then we emptied out spent tomato plants and the cucumber plants that never did fruit this year (a real shame because they had been so successful in previous years.). We still have a few tomato plants that are fruiting but these now all sit neatly down one side of the greenhouse so we managed to stack some of the larger empty pots into the now tidy greenhouse.

Garden Dad, meanwhile dug up some swedes, giant by our previous growing standards, and cleared some of the french bean plants which are no longer producing beans. The runner beans and some other varieties of French beans are still producing though, so I think we will still have a supply of beans for a while yet.

Unfortunately on Sunday the weather was a little wet, but we diecided to keep going with work in the garden regardless. The edges of the lawn needed a trim and a tidy up which Garden Dad managed to finish before the worst of the rain. While he was busy with that, our Little Garden Helpers were helping me to repot the rosemary and lavender cuttings we took earlier in the year. All of them had developed good roots and once the tomato plants have finished I will move the cuttings into the greenhouse for the winter. By spring next year they should be healthy plants ready to be rehomed in the front garden and herb bed.

Then, as the rain started to fall we began to dig up strawberry plants. The strawberry patch had been taken over by small, white, wild strawberrries which are quite nice but do stifle the red berries which we all prefer. So we decided to dig them all up, cut away any unwanted runners from the other varieties and then spread out the best plants with a bit more room for growth between plants next year. There is now a note in the gardening diary reminding us to keep on top of the strawberry runners!

We didn't manage to finish this task however, as the rain started to fall in bucketfuls. We do feel like we have a good start on clearing the garden however and hopefully we still have some sunshine left to enjoy the garden a bit more before the wet weather becomes more frequent than the dry!

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