Literally! Finished! All done and dusted. The beds have been cleared, weeded and dug. The strawberry plants have been tidied up, their runners caught up and put to one side ready for planting in a more appropriate spot and whilst the ongoing war against the constantly shedding Birch trees, may not have been won, at least the beds are, for now, free of their unsightly blanket of twiggy branches.
By the end of play yesterday, the Mudlets’ veg patch had been cleared, providing us with one last harvest of baby carrots which will compliment todays’ Sunday roast beautifully and the metal frame, over which the protective netting had been draped, had been relocated to its’ new position, ready for the sowing of the parsnip seeds.
I’m having a bit of a revolution in the veg patch this season, throwing out my current crop rotation system and replacing it with a whole new rotation. So the parsnips, beetroots and carrots, for example, will be grown under netting in the normal beds and not the raised beds, for a change. The onions are in one of the raised beds and whilst I know it is recommended that they be grown in open ground and not raised beds, these beds are about a foot deep and there is nothing between them and the soil below and so there is potential for roots to go as deep as they like. I remember a struggle with a parsnip which, once I finally managed to get it out, was 18 inches or so from the top of its’ enormous crown to the finger thick end of the root ….. and that was just the bit I got out.
Sweetcorn will be against the back fence, although I may put a stand in one of the smaller beds as well and one whole rank of raised beds will play host to the potatoes. We also plan to put some of the potatoes into very large tubs this year as well. I still have to figure out the finer detail of some of the other crops but the end result will be a reshuffle which, I hope, may pay dividends in terms of production.
Back to yesterday and I managed to plant 30 of the Onion Sturon sets, in neat little rows, in one of the raised beds. I will be planting some more in the little half bed beside it in a week or so. Onions are one thing I have struggled with in the past and so this year I Googled my variety, found lots of planting information, all of which was pretty much identical and I am following the instructions to the letter. I have been painfully exact with my spacings, as you will see when I do my post on planting the sets, have taken great care not to put too much of the onion bulbs underground to prevent rotting and I have even covered the bed with netting to prevent the pesky birds from hoiking them out which, it seems, is a very real problem. As you can see, the end result is three neat and tidy rows of onion sets, placed with almost military precision in one of the raised beds.
The last bed to be cleared was that which is home to the rhubarb and I was careful not to disturb the emerging stalks, as I weeded and then gently swept away the leaf and twig detritus. The sight of the rhubarb is a sure sign that spring is but a heartbeat away, as are the crocuses which were displaying beautifully in yesterdays’ sunshine. I did have to carefully rebuild the retaining wall of the rhubarb bed, as one section was bowing out quite seriously but that was easy enough as the bricks are dry set and not cemented in.
So with the beds cleared, I am done digging for now but I still have some essential jobs that need to be carried out, not least of which is the cleaning of the greenhouses and I may well make a start on those today.