Thursday, January 9

First post of the new decade

It's been understandably quiet in blogland. Probably like me, you have had not very much to write about and, probably also like me, there have been other things to occupy your time. Either way, it is often good to have a bit of a break.

Our seasons mean we usually have an enforced break from gardening which gives us the opportunity to take stock and refresh our enthusiasm. We can put the previous year's failures to one  side and plan for a new start.

This year, however, the enforced break has stretched out over a longer time frame. Due to the amount of rain, conditions were against any serious gardening activity both on the allotment and in the garden.

The photo below shows the state of one of the more heavily used of our grass paths. We try to vary our routes around the plot but some areas are unavoidable and we can only hope that the paths will eventually recover.
Over the past couple of weeks we have managed a few jobs, one of which was to finish pruning the jostaberries.
Whilst I tackled the jostaberries, Martyn cut down the row of buddleias. These are cut back hard each year. One problem is that lots of grass has grown amongst the roots which is going to prove very difficult to clear out.
Over the last couple of months piles of debris from cutting back many bushes had grown to huge proportions. The aim was to have a fire on bonfire night to clear it all, but bonfire night came and went and the piles never had a chance to dry out. After a few rain free days we decided that to wait any longer would be futile. The piles were in the way and so we opted to try for a fire last week. Of course the piles were moved to make sure no overwintering wildlife had chosen to take shelter. Eventually, Martyn managed to get a fire started and we hurriedly kept loading new material onto the flames before the fire died out. Most of the debris was reduced to a small pile of ash that will be dug into the bed that housed the fire.
About seven years ago, we bought four honeyberry bushes. In all that time we have never had even a taste of honeyberry. From what I have heard from others I don't think that we have missed anything. It seems that the reality doesn't live up to the hype. The consequence of the lack of fruiting has been that the bed housing the bushes has been neglected and so the time has come to remove the bushes and renovate the area. We started on this last week. We would like to replant the bed with new fruit bushes, maybe gooseberries unless anyone has any better suggestions.
Some plants are even keener than us for spring to arrive. Clumps of our early rhubarb - Timperley Early are shooting so the bed where they live is being tidied of any weeds.
The earliest of our four blueberry bushes is producing buds and the hazels are sporting immature catkins.
The blackcurrants are already loaded with buds.
We are continuing to harvest winter vegetables. We still have carrots, parsnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. The very wet conditions have really spoiled the cabbage which initially look well but there is lots of waste. Many layers of outer leaves need to be stripped away leaving just a tiny usable amount.
We also dug up the oca tubers, however, the extra time in the ground hadn't improved their size or maybe they don't grow as big as I am imagining. Martyn says that we should't bother with them again but I'm not convinced that we shouldn't try replanting some of the tubers next year. What do you think?
One piece of bad news for the birds in the garden is that the a sparrowhawk is on the prowl. If only he would relocate to the allotment he could help in our battle against the hoards of wood pigeons there.
To finish on a positive note - our main seed order arrived this morning. If anything announces the start of a new gardening year it's that! Let's hope it's a good one.



13 comments:

  1. My ocas were always fairly small and fiddly to wash, but really delicious and good raw, so I thought of them more as radishes than potatoes if you see what I mean. I am trying to remember of the name of the fruit bush I've always wanted to try. It's related to the blueberry I think, but doesn't need acid soil. My mind has gone blank.

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    1. The bush you are thinking about sounds like honey berry CJ. Maybe I’ll try our little oca like that.

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  2. We are certainly up against the weather. A friend who keeps records just told me that we haven't had such a sunless winter for a couple of decades. Happy Belated Birthday to Martyn. What a lovely day out you had.

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  3. There's nothing like a seed order delivery to lift you out of the winter doldrums!

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    1. Just hope we will have better weather for them this year, Mal

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  4. I think you should try those oca tubers again or you will always wonder. You are at least getting something done around the allotment. Here I know it is too early to do much even though we have had such a long warm spell. It has been gloomy here too.

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    1. I’ll probably sneak some in when, Martyn isn’t looking, Lisa. I’m afraid we didn’t get much done this week

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  5. I've seen one sparrowhawk here in the city as well Sue. Don't know why he is in the big city. The weather is rainy here, so I understand you looking at your wet garden.

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    1. A sparrow hawk visits fairly often, Nadezda. It certainly is wet and too cold to do any drying!

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  6. Yes it is quiet in blogland at the moment Sue. In my case gardening and blogging are difficult at the moment as I've had my right hand back in plaster since before Christmas. I am likely to spend another month in plaster. I dare not think about the allotment. I hope that the sparrowhawk moves on from your garden to pastures new. A seed oder arriving is always exciting. I wonder what the weather gods may have in store for us this year.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your hand, Anna. It must be so frustrating. I,do have mixed feelings about the sparrowhawk- he is a beautiful bird. I’m just hoping the weather gods treat us kindly this year with just the right amount of everything.

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  7. I'm always impressed with all you have in your garden. You guys are amazing.

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