Sunday, 27 January 2013

Getting the beds ready

I spent the morning working on the rug, and the afternoon in the garden. All the snow has gone, melted overnight. I am the only one in the street with any snow left, that's because I piled it high on the front lawn and stacked it up on the side of the house. It will take a few more hours for that to melt.
Welcome to my compost heap. It is behind the garage, and next to the greenhouse. I haven't got a fancy container for it, just some bits of wood along the back and one side, to stop it spilling everywhere. In the left hand corner is where I have been putting the grass cuttings, I'm starting to dig them out now and spread it on the beds. It's well rotted and full of worms. When I have removed all that I shall move the top of the other pile which is rotting veg peels, across to the left, then spread the underneath bit on the beds, to clear the right hand side out altogether, ready to start again with a fresh pile. I cover the compost heap with plastic to stop the cats piddling and pooing on it.  
My job this afternoon is to check the raised beds, and repair any wood which is starting to rot. These I built from pallets about five years ago, they have served me well. Easy to make, cut two pallets in half and stand the pieces on end in a square, and nail small pieces of wood across the corners to hold them together.
If there are gaps in the wood you have to fill them with any old wood, so the compost wont fall out. I had to replace a bit of wood here as it was rotting.
If you put three in a row like I have done here, you only need two pallets for each end and one for the middle. You need some flat pieces of wood to line each end of the middle bed. These beds are ready for planting. I have covered them in old compost bags cut open, then laid some plastic trellis over them, and put some heavy wood on top to stop it blowing away. The cats can't get on and use it for a litter box.
Job done. Four more pallet beds to sort out, and two beds I made with scaffolding planks. I shall be growing some veg this year, but I will keep it simple. I don't do brassicas any more, too much faffing about trying to keep the butterflies off them. I will be growing the usual tried and tested basics, runner beans, potatoes, courgettes, carrots, maybe some broad beans, nothing that will need a lot of attention.  
This area at the bottom of the garden is the veg plot. It doesn't have to look pretty, it's a place of work. I planted the leylandi hedge across to screen it from the rest of the garden. It's quite secluded really, and quite pleasant to potter around in here. The ground is a bit sodden at the moment, we had a lot of rain in the night, I'm traipsing through mud. Time to go in for my dinner. Toodle pip. 

18 comments:

  1. Thought you were expecting visitors when I read your header.
    It's been a beautiful day today hasn't it, just right for a spot of gardening. I have been sorting my tubs out today as the garden itself is sodden. A few days of weather like today though and it will start drying out.

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  2. I applaud your spirit! I couldn`t even contemplate any gardening yet. Our ground is so sodden with water that I can`t even treado it without sinking. I`m going to tackle my garden next month; hoping it will dry out a bit in the meantime. I`ve got one of these black darleck like looking plastic compost bins you get from the council. It`s full of good compost now, so I do need to empty that when I get out there to do any work. I would also like to start growing a few favourites again this year. I like courgettes, cucumbers, leeks and garlic, tomatoes and some lettuces (if the slugs will keep off them). I`ve got some cuttings of my favourite fusia bush sitting on my bedroom windowsill. They need potting up soon. I shall give a few of these cuttings to friends and increase my own stock in the garden with the rest. lets hope we get a half decent chance to grow veggies this year. Best of luck with your efforts!!

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  3. Sounds good MQ! Good to get it all ready now before the weeds take hold in spring! :) I am using containers this year so don't need to do much at the mo. I wish I had a garden to work in because it has been quite nice weather today between the showers!

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  4. It'll be a few months until we can get into the veggy patch,until then I'll enjoy yours.
    Jane x

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  5. Do try some Swiss Chard - so easy to grow and does nt bolt like spinach and lasts all season. Bright Lights is a good cultivar.
    Dont try digging yet though; you ll end up with cement.

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  6. Good to prepare early. Here's hoping you have a nice hot sunny summer and big leafy veges.

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  7. Hello from Jan.Great to see the garden again after all the snow.Impressed with your early preperations for the growing season to come.Love your compost heap.No room for one here but have a couple of bins.Can't understand anyone who doesn't compost,seems some people think that the 'real' stuff comes in plastic bags and costs a fortune!Funny where people get their ideas from,I once heard someone who had trouble lighting some fancy contraption in the garden,say that they couldn't understand why,as they had used 'proper' wood,purchased from a petrol station!Think we could do with you seting up an education programe for the nation!!

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  8. Fantastic Ilona, that's my type of garden! I'd love to know what you've got in the pots on the left hand side, they look like some sort of fruit bushes, raspberries or currants perhaps?

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    1. Hi Sue, yes they are black currants, red currants and raspberries. I bought them from Poundland. They do ok, but would do better if I put them in the ground.

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  9. Certainly the most glamorous gardening outfit I've seen in a long while. lol
    Briony
    x

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  10. Ilona, it's only January and you are way ahead of the pack with your vegetable garden. Preparation is the key to success, so you'll be eating lots of home grown veggies this year...good for you!

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  11. P.S.
    I found butternuts really easy to grow and you get quite a lot off of a couple of plants, also they keep really well.
    Briony
    x

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  12. Great idea using the pallets. We cannot start any gardening here because it is too cold and frozen out there with snow still on the ground and we are expecting more snow. It will have to wait. I like the idea of your secluded spot for your garden. Does it get alot of sun in that spot? We have a large tree in the back garden and it really cuts the sun exposure alot. We are thinking of getting it cut down because it is old and when Hurricane Sandy hit us, we were watching the tree sway so dangerously low that we said never again. We are cutting that tree down before something bad happens. So maybe after we get the tree cut down, we will get more direct sun over the garden. Our garden didn't do that well last year.

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  13. That's a brilliant use of old pallets - I am mentally noting that in case I ever find myself in a position that will allow me to have raised beds, my own garden!

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  14. Fantastic post Illona - I have been following you for a while and your blog always raises a smile from me :-) I want to start veg gardening this year and we have some pallets which our blocks for our driveway came on last year so this post couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I guess I had better get on and get my other half to make them otherwise we will miss the boat. I see your list of what your are planning to grow this year - would you say they were all suitable for a beginner? Nikki

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  15. You'll be already for planting when the weather is ready! We stopped planting brassicas as well... could never keep up with the bugs. Plus, they are always cheap to buy.

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