Friday, May 02, 2008

Gardening Leave

muddy fingers"Gardening leave" is usually a euphemism for someone being suspended from their job. But Ed actually took a day of his precious holiday time to work on the allotment.

We dropped the kids at school at 9am, and then spent all day at the plot. At 3pm I collected the kids from school whilst Ed remained on the allotment for another hour. Then we swapped shifts and I stayed on digging for another couple of hours. All told I think we did about 12 man-hours today.

We weeded about half the area we had last year (we have a new bit - a scary jungle to be tackled later). We dug and manured the bare areas and planted leeks, carrots, curled borecole, calabrese, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers, and French marigolds. Yes I know it's supposed to be tagetes for companion planting, but I couldn't find any. And the main reason I wanted them is that I resolved to have more flowers on the plot, just for pleasure, so French marigolds are as good as anything.

We weeded amongst the overwintered shallots and broad beans, so now we can see how well they're coming along. We weeded and tidied the herb bed and planted some bronze fennel and rosemary for height at the back.

We strimmed the green manure I planted in late autumn and Ed dug it it. Ed says he does not like green manure, simply because he does not like the "digging it in" part. If anyone wants to tell us that part is not necessary, we'd be pleased to hear from you. In any case, there is an enormous pile of the brown sort of manure and we made good use of it, so the green type seems unnecessary.

Fortunately the weather remained glorious all day. The forecast says heavy rain over the weekend, although Monday (a bank holiday here in the UK, and the reason for Ed's non-euphemistic gardening leave) is forecast to be fine. We'll see. When it's fair, we'll garden, and when it's pouring, we'll do something else. When you put it like that, the forecast is neither here nor there.


marigold said...

I thought French Marigolds were the tagetes used in companion planting as their latin name is Tagetes Patula. What other type is there?

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

I think if you mow the green manure and mulch it deeply with compost or brown manure,(composted I presume?)or even just mulch/manure it, you don't need to dig. There are lots of resources for no-till gardening. Check this one, it addresses no-till and green manure.

Melanie Rimmer said...

equa yona - "No till" gardening sounds great when you're sore from spending a day digging the garden. But when you realise it often involves shoveling (or forking) astonishing amounts of manure or compost, it's not a lazy way of avoiding strenuous physical work at all. I don't think Ed would be happier about forking tons of manure onto the mowed green manure than he was about forking it in.

marigold - you're probably right. After all, you're the expert!

Neil said...

I thought there was a book on no-dig gardening. I will try to remember the details

Anonymous said...

What, no aspersions^W nasturtiums? Both pretty and edible - win/win!

marigold said...

If I am the expert, we are all in trouble. :-)

The Organic Viking said...

I've been told that any orange or yellow flower makes a good companion since it's the colour that attracts beasties that otherwise might target the vegetables...

Unknown said...

I have a book somewhere called "Lasagne Gardening" all about layers, but as it's still boxed up somewhere & hasn't a hope of being found untill the house is completely renovated I can't give any further details, Sorry

Goats are in season September to March, giving kids from February onwards, just to be perverse! As Rawnie Spangle slipped her foal, I'm hoping to get her & the mad pony covered this month sometime for foals next year.

Banner looks gorgeous ~ google ate my comment on those entries!

Unknown said...
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Debs said...

A day spent gardening sounds delightful and relaxing. Perfect use of a day off.


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