When I look back through my posts at what we were doing this time last year, it only seems like yesterday. How fast time passes.
It will be three years tomorrow that I have been in my current little abode, living the dream by myself with three 'not so' little people, Jenny dog, Lily Loola and a stick (insect). Spring for me is always a time of high inspiration when finally I feel able to emerge from my little chrysalis and venture out into the wide world once more after my long Winter sleep....I'm sure you know what I mean!
So this year enthusiasm on full throttle, I'm all out and raring to go with plans for this years attempt at the vege garden.
Last year, you may remember or perhaps not if my blog remained in my head and didn't make it to the stages of publishing....last year I progressed from the failed container vegetable growing idea of the previous year, to a miniature vegetable patch in a large space. That space (the field behind my house) longs to be utilised every year, it calls to the gardener in me to transform it into something productive. I call back 'hang on a minute, I'm busy doing a hundred and one other things'....I voice my ideas but rarely do they materialise. This time last year my lovely brother in law and I dug two very minuscule beds in which I tried to grow food for myself and the children. It was the first little step onto the ladder in my mind, the first step forwards in my plan to transform the space. I try. I try very hard....every year I try and every year I plan to do better the next.
Last year I did manage to grow a few things, a boiling of delicious broad beans, about five sweet pea flowers, some very small onions and that was about it! I did plant some healthy looking sweetcorn plants and some leeks given by a friend, but would you believe it something (??????) ate them in their early stages of growth. The cheek of it!!
This year I am out on a personal war against bunnies and deer and slugs and am once again determined that this year I'm going to have more luck and success.
I have big plans for this space :-), well in my dreams I do......in the Autumn last year, my neighbour and I cut down a whole load of sucker trees that were crowding one corner, (I shall use the slim trunks to make stakes to secure my anti bunny/deer netting around my main vege area). I've also had an offer of a mini digger help to level off some of the ground, remove the tree stumps and to generally tidy the place up. I've got plans to make the vege patch at least twice the size of last years efforts.
And.....I've built myself a salad garden :-)...I'm quite excited about the prospect of having delicious leaves and flowers pretty much on my doorstep for picking as needed. The back of my house doesn't get much sun once the lovely walnut tree that shadows it comes into leaf. I can't complain as the tree produces an amazing crop which I collect, dry and store every year for all year round consumption. The front of the house does get the sun but the flower boarders are already planted with shrubs and there's no room for vegetable growing. I decided this year to create my own salad garden, so I've made a raised bed :-)
Do you see those Sweet peas at the back? I'm hoping they will grow right up the meeting against the wall and up the windows :-), the salad has already come up after just a few days.
It wasn't all that difficult. I had some lovely planks of wood that I'd been saving to create rustic shelves but hadn't actually got around to using them so they have been put to good use and made into the raised bed.
I was planning to be on the scrounge for some soil to fill the bed but then it was pointed out to me by a good friend that I had a good supply right under my nose at the bottom of our communal compost heap. Sure enough when I cleared away the top clutter, there it was. Gorgeous rich soil, perfect for the job!
I enlisted the help of one Small Boy who was keen to get his hands dirty and help shovel the muck and soil and barrow it to the front of the house. So there we have it, one raised bed and all planted too!
Oooh and a piece of corrugated plastic sheeting makes the perfect lid to ensure moisture stays in and heat is trapped; the perfect combination for germination. Now it has become a waiting game. '21 days' the packet suggests until I should have some edible delights :-)
I am soo grateful to my lovely friend Kat who gave me her petrol powered lawn mower that wasn't working. In my previous life when mowing the lawn wasn't my job. My lovely husband used to use a petrol mower. I learnt all about the engines and the cut width, those things were all important to a man who valued his tools. When I moved to the little cottage with the tiny lawns, I gave away my old beast of a mower, Tim was the only person who could start the thing and besides with two lawns the size of postage stamps I figured I could cut them using scissors!
Fortunately the person who I gave my old mower to kindly gave me a little electric number in exchange. It worked quite well although it was a pain to keep moving the electric cable around the house and the wheel kept falling off so you had to hold it with force to enable it to cut properly!
It's funny, every time I used that mower I imagined Tim looking down at me and laughing, he wouldn't have been seen dead using such a thing! The second Summer I invested in a push along mower which wasn't much cop either and tended to flatten the blades of grass rather than cut them. So this year having finally progressed to a super posh petrol mower that now works thanks to my lovely dad, I feel I have some lawn cred. I got so carried away today at the excitement at actually managing to start the thing that I cut a good part of the field, the green in front of our house, the alley next to the house AND my neighbours lawns :-)....no, I didn't do my own. I'll stick to the push along mower for them, I don't fly round the corners!!
Now thinking willow arch, fire circle, straw bale shelter/den, tree house............