Bringing buried earth into the light

Bringing buried earth into the light


Dawn and BE is shrouded in mist.

The garden as it looked early this morning, shrouded in mist. It’s been a busy Easter weekend. Yesterday the BE girls were whipping the rows of fruit into shape in preparation for laying of the weed suppressant fabric. This is a damp corner, beloved of Himalayan balsam – we could already see a multitude of seed leaves emerging, so we hand dug, weeded and raked. You wouldn’t believe the length a dock root, with only the tiniest leaves, can achieve! Now that the days are really lengthening, the weeds are exploding everywhere which is entirely natural and as it should be. Our activity is disturbing dormant seeds by bringing buried earth into the light. From now on, it’s constant weeding.


From left: Polly, Jenny, Honour and me.

Another Easter visitor, thirteen year old Rory learns how to plant broad beans…


With all this planting out comes the horror of invasion. Hours and hours of hard labour and love can be devastated overnight. Slugs, snails, mice and the latest today…vine weevil have all had their fill. Our latest losses include pumpkins, squash and peas. I couldn’t bear to look at the devastation. Those seedlings were freshly germinated and looking incredible – just on the point of being ready to plant out. But we gardeners have to learn a certain resilience and we know that just because we are putting in the maximum effort it doesn’t guarantee any certainty. There are so many variables with outdoor growing. Last night for example we had a late frost. The day before was warm, so we thought it safe to plant out a good selection of our Russian Giant sunflowers. This morning they were struggling, drooping thanks to frozen cells. Yet by this afternoon they needed watering again, thanks to high temperatures which saw us shedding not only coats, but jumpers and cardigans too.

We are responding to pests by trialling a wide variety of different preventative measures. On this one row of beans we are experimenting with sheep’s wool as a slug and snail deterrent. Polly brought in this high tannin content wool and has made a protective nest around each plant.


Polly with her wool anti-slug nests

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