Monday, 18 May 2015

Plumbing, planting, potatoes

We've had a pleasant couple of days in Scarborough, with the obligatory beach-front ice-cream. Back home, we've been checking that we're happy with the pond construction and layout, because we plan to line it in a week. As we were using the very fast and effective, but relatively imprecise minidigger to excavate, it does need a degree of manual finessing, to get the shape and depths we want. Hopefully that will only take a day or so to get right, and we can then line it, build the retaining dry-stone wall, fill it, and sort out the edges.

Today, we've had a day of smaller jobs. Inside, the dandelion wine is now in its demijohn. We spent the first part of the morning connecting the two outside taps (near the greenhouse) that I started to do last summer, and never quite finished. This means that there are now two watering points which don't require the workshop door to be propped open, which is much better—it means that the kitchen garden irrigation can be left automatically running, which is critical when we're away during the warmer months. The second hose point will let us set up automatic drip irrigation inside the greenhous (much better for the tomatoes during the summer), which is a later project.

Because we only made about half of the climbers' supports 'properly' last year, we've put up a further five that are more rustic, shall we say: lengths of poplar, tied together at the top. Less attractive, but functional. I hope to make more proper frames in the autumn.

We've planted out the tulbaghia, chives, coriander and parsley into the herb garden; as well as the agapanthus into the long border, as frosts should be past, now. I've taken a number of cuttings from the dahlias in the greenhouse, which are starting to grow on well (Bishop of Llandaff and Twyning's After Eight). They go in a propagator in the dining room for a few weeks until they've rooted, and will then grow on in pots this year.

Down in the kitchen garden, the beetroot are now planted out (a rainbow mix, this year: we found the flavour much superior to Boltardy, and really pretty, too). The cauliflowers are also out, and we've planted the second half of the mini salad bed. I think these plants have been in modules for too long, though, so they might not thrive.

The potatoes are doing well, and almost all needed earthing up. The scorzonera has germinated really well; almost every station has a couple of seedlings. The parsnips, inevitably, are much slower, and will probably be less reliable. That's fine, though, we don't need many.

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