Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sweetpea Supports

Last year, I made a number of timber-framed wigwams for growing annual climbers up, but only added the woven willow sides to those for the sweetpeas. They worked really well, though, and it was only time (that is, insulating the walls of the house!) that stopped me doing so for the pea and bean supports in the herb garden. They had to suffice with strings, which didn't work nearly as well. The beauty of the diamond-woven willow is that the tendrils seem to latch on very readily, meaning that they only need a little help to get started, and then the climbers just take off by themselves, with very little twisting in.

Yesterday afternoon, we worked together to get the willows put on the sides of the six remaining supports in the herb garden, spurred on by the growth the beans and peas are putting on while on the dining room windowsill. We're hoping to be able to plant them out next weekend, if the weather's looking stable.

We also managed to sow a number of seeds; some more legumes (to account for germination losses), and a tray of brassicas: cauliflowers, swedes, and turnips.

Today we've mown the lawn, and edged it (have adopted shears from my parents, who don't have any lawn, now), for which it's looking immensely neater; weeded (well, Liz did this), and have started putting a timber frame onto the fruit cages to replace the wire net supports. The nets, and wires that carried them, have gradually deteriorated, mainly because of the combined effect of wind and snow. I'm hoping that timber framework, combined with chicken wire mesh roof, will be longer-lasting. We're about half way on the frame: adding the net/mesh is going to be a bit time-consuming, though.

At lunch, we started a batch of dandelion wine, using flowers picked before I mowed the lawn. The combined yield of the lawn and paths, fittingly, is about perfect for a one-gallon batch. The petals stew (with chopped raisins) until later this week, when lemon and yeast are added. Five more days in the bucket, then it goes into a demi-john until autumn. We've also got round to bottling the two gallons of elderflower, and one of bramble-tip, that I made last year. All very good, so we're planning to make more of both in the coming weeks.

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