Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘newspaper’

A Gardener’s Rambling’s!

In Bees, Gardening, sustainable living on June 14, 2011 at 6:54 am

The polytunnel is getting to the stage I really like now, everything growing like crazy, plants merging into each other. Nasturtiums self-seed profusely here, I love their bright colours and the fact that they are edible. The Peach tree has put on lots of growth, I will prune it once or twice during the Summer. Summer pruning works for Peaches, Plums and Nectarines, Winter pruning can lead to silverleaf  and canker.

In the top orchard the Bees are happily working away. Andy checked them recently and the hives are good and healthy, no spare honey yet, the weather has just been too cold and wet. Hopefully the weather picks up and we will get some honey in late Summer. Our main priority is to have happy healthy bees.

Also in the top orchard we have been extending the mulched area. Up to now an area around each tree was mulched. Last week Andy strimmed the grass, we put down lots of newspapers and cardboard, then used the strimmings on top as mulch. When the weather gets better, (fingers crossed) we intend to plant this area with Pumpkins. They are already growing on in pots in the polytunnel. It’s just too cold at night for them so far. They can run rampant here and be pollinated by the Bees.

Foxgloves are in full flower now. I am often reminded of a picture of a painting I once saw in a book, of a gnome like being wearing a Foxglove flower as a hat. The painting was by Walter Thun, husband of Maria Thun who compiles the biodynamic calendar each year. I always have that in my mind’s eye as I gaze upon a Foxglove.

Strimming & Mulching @ Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, sustainable living on March 25, 2011 at 10:04 am

We awoke to another beautiful sunny morning here in Arigna. The heat is really building in the polytunnels and everything in there has really taken off. Lots of pricking out and potting on to do. All the outdoor fruit bushes have leafed up and fruit buds will be following soon. We will have to be vigilant for frosts, even a sheet of newspaper held on with clothes pegs is enough to keep off the frost at this time of year.

Strimming the rushes is another annual job to be done here. When we bought this place the rushes had’nt been cut for years and were about five feet tall. That first year our neighbour cut them with a tractor and mower, Andy now strims them once or twice a year and the difference is amazing. The rushes are’nt as strong growing and the cutting has given the grass a chance to come on. Three fields that were just full of rushes have now become fairly decent pasture.

So, what to do with all those rushes? They can be left in situ where they will rot down fairly quickly and provide some fertility. We collect them to use for mulch, particularly around the fruit trees and bushes. As you can see from the above pic above we have already started this years mulching. Now is a good time to mulch as the soil has warmed up and is still damp. Mulching conserves moisture, keeps down weeds and ultimately rots down thus improving soil structure and fertility. It also protects plants during the Winter reducing the effects of frost.