Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tues: endeavouring not to fall in the lake.

Another cold, misty start, so I went out in "longs", muttering under my breath: can't wait to get back in shorts full time! Checked my diary, it was the 22nd March last year, so I suppose I shouldn't be grumbling.

Spent a merry morning barrowing compost and mulching the beds: and here's a reminder for all of you with composty heaps - DO NOT put the following onto your bins:

Plastic. In any shape or form. It does not rot!
Biodegradable plastic bags: there is a difference between "biodegradable" and "compostable" and the difference is that biodegrading can take several years, and often requires a high temperature. Garden composty heaps don't get that hot, and are needed within a year. So please don't use them!
Citrus: orange peel, lemon peel, grapefruit peel: send them off in your Food Waste bins for the council to compost in huge great heaps.
Eggshells: see below.

Here we have Exhibit A: a massive composty stack, just look how thick and black this compost is.

Now just look at that pile of eggshells, revealed as I was cutting into the compost to use it.

Entire, aren't they?

And this compost is about as dense and rich as you could hope to get, so if this heap can't reduce egg-shells, then no home composty bins can.

So please, send your egg-shells off to the council as well!

There is an urban myth that the water in which eggs are boiled is nutritious for plants, as it contains the "goodness" that has boiled out of the eggshells. I haven't been able to find any scientific support for the theory, but it does sound logical. So by all means use the egg-boiling water (cooled, of course) for the plants, but please don't put the shells onto the compost. Even if you crush them up in your hand into little flakes - a year later, the flakes are all still there.

Right, that's my Gardener's Note for today......

And here is the result of that hard labour, the lowest terrace of the Grand Bank is now beautifully mulched (I weeded it first thing) and as you can see, the various herbaceous perennials are starting to fluff up - lovely time of year!

As you can guess, there is a considerable slope above this terrace, and weeding it can be quite an adventure.

At the moment the brambles are taking over on the second and third layers up, so with fear and trembling, I am soon going to have to clamber up there and do battle with them. Again! My client tells me (quite often!) that when they moved in, the whole bank was one solid mass of brambles.  They had the sturdy log terracing put in, which got rid of a lot of them, but they are very persistent and just keep on coming back.

I think I've been digging them out for as long as I've been working there!  Trouble is, it's very hard to get all the root out when working on a one-in-one slope, clinging on with one hand, and digging into very friable chalk with the other.

Just to make a change from all the barrowing, my client asked if I would do a bit more Iris maintenance: all the dead leaves from last year are still lying on the new growth, looks awful!

Here's a typical section: you can see all the dead stuff just lying around looking messy.

So I got the rake, told my boots not to dare slip too much on the decking, and started heaving it out.

Lovely job - the bottoms of the leaves are wet and soggy, so if I swing them into the wheelbarrow too quickly, I get soaked!
After lunch, a quick change into shorts and I headed back to "my" yard, and with Jim's help again - thanks, Jim! - we took the horrible rusty tin roof panels that we disassembled yesterday, and used them to bunny-proof the gate that I won't be using.

Smart-looking, huh? Actually, very "in keeping" with the derelict barn, I thought.

That's Jim on the left, checking to see how many bunny-sized holes there were in the barn wall...
 Here it is from the inside, fairy 'orrible, but if it does the job.. and will also stop nosy people walking dogs in the field from looking in.

And yes, we know there is a gap or two, that will be taken care of in due course.

The important job was to get the incredibly noisy, dirty, unwieldy panels in place while there were two of us to do it:  not a one-person job!
Final job for the day, yesterday we dragged an old trough into place under the guttering, and today we replaced their downpipe with a bit of old stuff that I had in my garage.

Shame that we got it all set up before noticing the hole in the side... you can just see it, bottom far right hand corner.

So I went back after tea with a tube of waterseal silicone stuff, and did a bit of a repair.

Now I need it to rain, to see if it works!

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