31 January 2017

Getting Nasty In The Raspberry Patch.

This Raspberry patch has been pretty much out of control ever since I came here and has become more so as time passes despite my best efforts to get on top of it by forking and spot weeding. The main problem is Bindweed mixed with a few Nettles.

So as I wasn't having much effect by being nice, three years ago I decided to get nasty and dug out two of the four rows of Raspberries and then spent the following summer getting rid of the weeds by spraying with Roundup. I had to give two or three applications before the ground was free from any signs of Bindweed and I was able to replant with new Raspberry canes.
So as to not leave the house without any Raspberries I have had to leave the new canes to grow on for a couple of years before uprooting the next two rows for ground cleaning work, this is what I did last week. 

Furthest away is the new row of summer fruiting variety plus one row of Autumn fruiting canes which have yet to have supports added. The two rows nearest have been removed and all this ground up to the two new rows will be kept sprayed off this next summer including the row of Artichokes that you can see in the bottom of the picture. I have saved canes and split one Artichoke plant to clean and save for replanting when the ground is clean, these will be grown on in a different location for the time being.

29 January 2017

My Work Book Week Four.

Here are the entries from last weeks work book. As always there was plenty to do even though the weather was bitterly cold at times.

On the page below it says, 'lifting Dahlias Artichokes' this was my ipad sticking it's nose in where it wasn't wanted, it was the Artichokes that I was lifting to spit in to new plants for transplanting in to clean ground when the time comes.

27 January 2017

Ultimate Garden Pest

I spotted this on the lawn this morning – looks like I'm in for a bad day.

26 January 2017

Favourite Toy.

Today I have been continuing my work around the veg garden, in particular the Raspberry patch which has been out of control for a number of years due to a bindweed infestation. I've slowly been reclaiming it by removing a row at a time and leaving the ground fallow and treating with Roundup over the summer before reinstating a new row. I have now cleared the final piece of ground which again I will clear over the summer before replanting next year.

Here are a couple of pictures from Wednesdays dog walk, they were both taken at what we know as 'The Post'.

A view across the fields from the crossing of tracks.

Here is Tess waiting by the post with her favourite stick - they are all her favourite, the only thing better than a stick is a ball.

25 January 2017

Finishing Off The Digging.

These past few days I have been finishing off digging over the veg garden. At the point in the picture I had finished the first plot and nearly finished the second, I have since finished the third plot and now moved on to sorting out the Raspberries.

18 January 2017

The Secret Of The Neat Pile.

Few posts ago I showed a picture of the leaf pile that I have for the estate gardens and on seeing it Sara commented on how neat it looks so I thought I would show you how I manage this.

It's quite simply achieved with sheep or pig netting as seen in the picture below. The piece of netting that I use for the pile is obviously a bigger circle than the one below which is actually used for something else which I may show you one day. This actual size would probably be all you would need for a small garden as it's surprising how much leaves compress when trodden.
So, what you need to do is to fill the ring with leaves and then get inside it and give the leaves a good treading down and when you have the ring half to three quarters full of compressed leaves work your way around the ring on the outside pulling it up as you go. Don't take it right off, just maybe lift it around a foot at a time and then pile in more leaves and tread them. You can go to at least twice the height of the netting although if you have a smaller ring you may need to judge for yourself what height you can go as I have only ever done this with the larger size ring which is forced to be more stable at height than a smaller one.
I find the good place to site the pile is under a tree as it helps to keep the pile moist and therefore encourage better decomposition. If you experience a dry summer it would benefit the pile if you kept it moist by applying water. Any old water will do just to keep the pile moist.

15 January 2017

A Family Gathering

Today we went out with some of the family to celebrate my brother in laws birthday. We all met up at The Bulls Head Monyash where we enjoyed a meal and drinks together before going back to my sisters house for tea and cake.

People Friendly

Dog Friendly

14 January 2017

My Work Book 2017 Week Two.

Hello everyone,
Here are last weeks pages from my work book, I hope you can read them alright.
The weather here last week was quite windy at times but this provided drying conditions so I was able to crack on with getting some soil turned over which is always best done as early in to the season as possible. 

13 January 2017

Manure Bay

Having acquired a local source of horse manure I thought I would make a structure to contain it so some of my time today has gone in to this task, below are the results of my labour. Not very fancy but hopefully quite functional and definitely cheap.


11 January 2017

Dig This Weather.

Today has been cool with a drying wind so another good day to press on with some digging, this time the Memorial Garden Dahlia beds.

I completed both beds and as you can see that if nothing else apart from making planting easier it also smartens them up for the winter.

I also did a few other various bits and bobs throughout the day as a means to giving myself a break from time to time. One of the jobs being the covering of Dahlia tubers as these is cold weather forecast for tomorrow.

A yellow warning for wind and snow

Just in case you didn't know, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind and snow for large areas of the UK, with sleet showers, gales and widespread overnight frosts expected to affect much of the country.
Temperatures are expected to plummet to -10C (14F) in rural areas this week and last into the weekend. The weather is expected to turn cold and windy by Wednesday evening as a polar maritime airmass, with its origins over northern Canada, moves into northern Scotland and then south across the whole of the UK.
There will be gales which could lead to temporary blizzard conditions as well as a risk of hail and thunder in some locations. Daytime temperatures are likely to be between 2C and 5C, though strong gale-force winds will make it feel much colder.
Overnight, a frost will develop in most places with some severe frost likely where there is snow on the ground in the north.

10 January 2017

If You Want Something Done Do It Yourself.

This is to be my first full week back at work since the Christmas break and one of the first jobs was to repair some broken glass in one of the greenhouses. I reported a broken pane a month ago but nothing has been done about it and so now because of the winds there are three panes to repair. As I don't have the tools for repairs such as this I make a temporary fix by fastening a fresh pane of glass over the broken one thereby closing off the hole and stopping the wind from getting in until the maintenance guy actually fixes it properly. People don't seem to realise that if you have a hole and wind blows in it has to go somewhere, a bit like over inflating a balloon, eventually if you keep on blowing it goes pop and in the case of a greenhouse the pop is another pane of glass which then means there are two holes letting in the wind so you can soon lose a complete greenhouse if the wind is strong enough.

One of the other jobs these past two days has been to dig over the long Dahlia border which I have completed this afternoon. It's a job I like to do as it makes planting easier in Spring also it might kill a few bugs if we get a cold spell.

8 January 2017

My Work Book 2017 Week One.

Hello everyone, This is just a quick post from my work book showing what I got up to last week.

6 January 2017

It Suddenly Went Missing.

Shortly before Christmas I was doing some work in the rose garden when I became aware of a strange bird call. At first I thought it was maybe some kind of bird of prey but as time went by and the calls kept on I went to investigate and discovered this parrot type bird on a window ledge. I watch for some time unsure whether to do anything or just leave it to it's fate, I know they survive outdoors in the south but I wasn't sure about this area. In the end I decided to have a go at catching it reasoning that if I was meant to catch it I would. So I went for the fishing net hanging in the potting shed and after several failed attempts I managed to capture it in the net and took it to the hot house where I released it. I got it some water and various sorts of bird food, it seemed to prefer the fat balls, in particular the seeds within them. I'm not a bird person so excuse all the vagueness within this post.

The bird remained in the hot house for something like ten days - Christmas Eve in fact when it suddenly went missing over night. It used to hide itself among the plants so I looked very thoroughly but found no sign of it so I left the new fat ball I had brought for it and locked up the greenhouse and took a walk around the gardens looking to see if I could see it because I could only think that it had escaped somehow, I saw no signs of it. On returning to check the greenhouses in the evening there was still no sign of the bird and the fat ball was untouched so I knew for sure it was no longer in the greenhouse which saddened me no end as I had become quite attached to it.

The next morning I went across to check the greenhouses and was surprised to find the fat ball that I had left there the day before had gone missing completely. I knew the bird hadn't taken is because he only used to peck out the seeds and leave the rest and so I immediately thought RATS! I'd suspected they had been living in the old heating system for a for a few weeks and had informed the estate vermin person but as usual nothing seemed to have been done about it and this looks to have been the consequence of this lack of action.

I've since got rid of the rats by robbing bait from another location that I discovered otherwise no doubt they would still have been there in their cosy little home doing damage to something else.

4 January 2017

2016 Leaf Pile.

It was back to work for me yesterday after the Christmas break and the first job was to finish off this years leaf pile. I've pretty much done with all the leaf collecting but because there are so many it's not really possible to fit them all on to the main pile in one go so I make a secondary pile in another location and leave both piles to decompose a little before adding all to one pile. The darker ring at the top of the pile is what I added yesterday. I would guess around 80% of all the leaves I have collected this year have now gone to this pile, the rest which were of poor quality got scattered I the woods. It always amazes me how small the pile looks compared to the amount of leaves that have gone in to making it but with lots of treading and a couple of months decomposing I have managed to keep it to this size and around this time next year it will look like the dark heap on the right which this time last year looked something like the pile on the left.

1 January 2017

Decoration Dogs.

I thought I would show a few of the Christmas decorations before we put them away for another year.

These three items are set out in the landing window, this first one being a nativity scene watched over by a few dogs..

A village type scene on a snowy hillside.

In the opposite corner to the snowy village are a  few houses accompanied by a couple of dogs. Dogs play a big part in our lives so it should be no surprise that they get included in the decorations also.

I would like to wish everyone a happy new year.