Yesterday dawned bright and extremely spring like and I was determined to make the most of it and get at least something done in the garden. So I donned my tatty old jeans and an even tattier old top and after the requisite mug of coffee (or two), I headed outside. Determined though I was to make an impression on the neglected mess that is my vegetable patch, I knew I had to be realistic in terms of my capabilities at the moment and so I chose a couple of jobs to do and set about slowly but surely, getting them done.
First on the list was finally emptying the little greenhouse out. I have been carefully avoiding this sorry-looking structure on my infrequent forays into the garden, with its’ totally dried out tomato, cucumber and marigold plants, as the sight of them made my frustration at my lack of energy and flagging health, even more difficult to deal with. It took a bit longer than normal but eventually all the empty plant pots, labels and propagator trays had been picked up, stacked and returned to the large greenhouse for storage, the dried up old plants had been confined to the compost bin and the tubs emptied of spent compost and neatly stacked inside the now empty greenhouse. The structure itself still needs to be cleaned and the floor swept but as I said at the beginning, I have to be realistic about my capabilities right now and with more pressing jobs needing to be done, cleaning the greenhouse will have to wait for another day.
Next in line for attention were the two beds which are along the back fence. These, as with all my beds, needed enriching. First I had to clear the layer of twigs and branches the Birch trees had dropped on them ….. in fact twig clearing will be the first thing I do whichever part of the garden I work on, as the slightest breeze is all these trees need to encourage them to deposit huge quantities of their twigs and branches on any available surface, nevermind the incredibly strong winds we’ve had of late. Twigs cleared I scattered a generous amount of fishblood and bones over the soil and then spread 1.5 bags of Farmhouse manure over the top of that before digging in with the aid of the garden fork Santa had brought me back in December.
The Leeks were next to go. They hadn’t done very well at all last season and there were still 40 or so, in situ’ which hadn’t grown any bigger than ‘baby’ sized and so I made the decision to clear them and the remains of the tomato and bean plants which had been grown along the fence at the back of the bed. I found this bed quite hard going and regretted starting it about 5 minutes in. However, I persevered and with a few rest stops along the way, eventually managed to clear the bed before spreading copious amounts of fishblood and bone along the entire length. I haven’t manured this bed yet because I want the manure I have, to go on my raised beds first but I think I’ll need another 6 bags in total to finish the garden.
This completed the jobs I had chosen for today but I still had an open half bag of manure left over from the fence beds and so I decided to make a start on the raised beds. Once again there was a large number of Birch twigs and branches covering this part of the garden and just picking these up and composting them, made a huge difference in terms of appearance. In addition to the left over half bag, I added another bag of manure and some fishblood and bone, to one of the large raised beds and its’ half sized neighbour. I had to use my hand trowel for digging in because there is a frame of thick garden wire which encircles each of the raised beds, over which netting can be draped as required, which effectively means that you have to climb a height of two feet to be able to get onto the bed for digging in with a garden fork or spade and by this time I was running on empty.
I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the small amount I managed to get done today but it has highlighted the huge drop in stamina that I have suffered. Slow and steady is the way forward at the moment and although I know that in terms of readiness for the season, I am way behind where the experts say I should be right now, I’m not going to let this bother me because I live in the real world and in the real world, things don’t always go according to plan and you have to adapt and accept this. I won’t be growing as much as I normally would but then this is acceptable as well because the beauty of gardening is that there is always next season and by next season, with luck, I should be back with all guns firing and my garden won’t be any the worse off for having had an easier time this year.