Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gardening in the dark

Lots of tidying up in the garden this week. I've pulled up the red cauliflowers, which gave a small harvest of 'cauliflowers' (more like purple sprouting broccoli). Also this week has seen me heeling in a climbing rose in the dark (why do plant companies send out plants so that they turn up on a Monday?) - nearly as much fun as trying to cover with compost 30 asparagus roots in the dark. More compost on me than on the roots. Hopefully these will both be put in their rightful places this weekend - the asparagus will need trenches dug out for them, so that the roots can be spread out, and the trench partially back-filled. The rose is Rosa 'Malvern Hills', as a reminder of my home town, and will be growing over the front door, eventually.

On the allotment front, more beds were dug, and lots of couch grass extracted. Also, I planted 15 strawberries of 3 different varieties ('Mae', 'Florence' and 'Alice') - these will spread out the harvest season, hopefully.

Thanks to Henry for directions on strawberry planting and some compost to feed the plants, as it will be a while until our pile of weeds is reduced to a useable compost.

Weather-wise, it has become a little milder, with a small amount of rain yesterday. I think we'll be off to see the last flowers of the year at Ness Gardens this weekend; I'm sure that the herbaceous borders will still have a few blooms.

Friday, November 03, 2006

First Frosts

A note to myself. The first frost of the year came on November 1st 2006, with temperatures down to -2degC. The heliotropes have now had it, which is a shame as they have been smelling fantastic for the past month or so. The Cosmos are stil surviving, surprisingly. The ricinus plants have survived two days of frosts but it can't be long until they disappear into black sludge.

We'll be having a busy weekend at the allotment, as we have only two or three new beds to dig to complete it, and I've had a couple of deliveries. One was of 'elephant garlic' which was bought on a whim as it was on special offer. Apparently it is a mild garlic flavour, more like leek. Also, I've got a delivery of bare-rooted strawberry plants, of three different varieties - to give a longer cropping season (again, a special offer!). I'll put these in a dedicated strawberry bed. The strawberries should crop for three years before needing to be replaced, and the bed rotated. I've only just started being able to eat strawberries - for many years they'd make me ill. However, after picking some at a PYO last summer (, I now realise what I've been missing out on. Can't wait to harvest my own strawbs next summer.

In the mean time, it's an opportunity to enjoy some proper autumn weather, with spiders' webs sparking with dew, and the leaves starting to come down with a vengeance - an excellent resource which will be turned into leaf mould, to put on the Hellebores next autumn.