The Unhappy Gardener

Waterlogged soil….

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, and I’m still waiting for a dry weekend to work on 4A and 5A. Unfortunately, the dreadful weather is showing no sign of stopping, so today, in desperation, I pulled on my wellies, donned my waterproofs and…. got totally soaked after spending and hour pottering on the plots.

wlogged
Waterlogged 4a

My ground is literally drowning :-/

What can can I do?  I’ve ‘googled’ the effects of waterlogging… ‘Water fills all the air spaces between the soil particles and this prevents oxygen from reaching the roots. In turn, this causes the soil to stagnate and prevents root growth’.

Mmmmm, it certainly isn’t stopping the weeds from growing on plot 4A!   I need to draw up a plan of action…let’s face it, there’s nothing else I can do in such poor weather!

Today, on 4A, I tried to dig a hole but it filled up with water within minutes – I need to try to improve my soil structure! I’m planning to add lots of organic matter, such as garden compost, chipped bark or shredded clippings and manure. I’m told that I don’t necessarily need to dig it in, just add to the surface and let the worms do the rest. This should improve the soil drainage and also improve water retention in summer. The worms will have plenty to eat over winter too!

However, there’s not much I can do in this awful weather – indeed the less I do, at the moment, the better. Simply walking on the soil is going to make matters worse, so it’s best if I keep off. In fact, I have to resist the temptation to do anything until the water has drained away…‘If you dig a hole and it fills up with water, leave well alone!’

5a wlogged
5A – Coping a little better with the constant rain!
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Gardening Tips

It’s the second weekend in a row that I haven’t been able to visit my allotment due to heavy rain! Not happy!! 😦

I’ve created a fairy garden around the tree stump at the bottom of the garden, as requested by the ‘Tiddlers’ but constant rain is preventing any more garden tinkering…

Fairy Garden

So I’m doing a little light reading, gathering  a few gardening tips in readiness for the next growing season. Fellow allotmenteers and gardeners, down the generations, have passed on tips about the best way to grow flowers and veg.  

There is so much information that we can all share…

Tea Soak 

Soak seeds in tea, apparently, the tannins soften the seed casings and aid seed germination.  Chamomile tea is especially good because it contains anti-fungal properties which reduce cases of ‘damping-off’.  As every gardener knows, some species will struggle to germinate unless they’ve had an overnight soak!

Tea is useful for helping your flowers to bloom too!!

Cooking Water  

The left over ‘cooking water’, from your veg, eggs and even pasta, is full of nutrients. If the water is free from oil or salt, why not use it to water your plants (when cool)?

Strong Pongs

It is said that ants hate the smell of spices!  Try growing a lavender bush or a curry plant – they dislike the distinctive aroma given off during flowering. My grandmother used to protect her beloved rose beds from an ant invasion by sprinkling a line of curry powder around the perimeter – she was convinced that the ants wouldn’t cross the curry line!

Potatoes

Another tip from grandmother…stick your rose cutting into a potato and plant the whole lot into the ground!  She thought the potato helped keep the cutting moist while it established some roots.

Bananas

We know that bananas are rich in potassium so a few of my fellow allotmenteers will bury a banana peel among the roots of roses, sweet peas or any other potassium hungry plant.  The peel’s potassium will give the plant a nutritional boost and should help it  resist disease.
Iron 

Throw a few old nails into a bucket of water.  Leave for a while (a little rust goes a long way!) Water your camellias, blueberries, in fact any iron-loving plants, with the solution.  Apparently the plants will love it!

Matches

Place a few unused matches a few inches below your pepper plant roots and they will reward you with a wonderful crop.
According to allotment folklore pepper (and chillies) love a bit of sulphur!
Milk

Milk diluted (skimmed is best) with water will help fight off powdery mildew.  Spray the leaves daily until the battle has been won!

Thyme

I’m in a constant battle with weeds between the cracks in the pathways on my allotment.  This year I’m going to be using Thyme for ground cover.  Hopefully, it will be happy to grow in the cracks and ‘crowd out’ those pesky weeds!

Egg shells

Give your garden a calcium boost by grinding up egg shells and sprinkling the powder over the garden. Calcium is essential for all plants, but the following are especially responsive: apples, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, grapes, lettuce, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

Just took another look out of the window…still raining!  Ah well, I think I’ll stay warm and take a browse through the wonderful gardening blogs and my collection of December gardening magazines.

At my Garden Chores

‘at my garden chores
for MP3 I’ve no need
birdsongs-humming bees’

The allotment chores list is growing longer by the day and with the dark evenings, all jobs have to be stuffed into the weekend!

Jobs list 1 (of many):

  • Chop and weed the cut flower bed. STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED!
  • Prune the old gooseberry bush, replant (in a more suitable position) and dig over the ‘old gooseberry’ site. STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED!
  • Transplant the honeyberries.
  • Lay the weed suppressant on the pathways. STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED!
  • Dig wooden raised bed. DONE!!!
  • Fill metal raised beds with topsoil, manure and compost. STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED!
Raised beds
Raised beds
  • Pull up beans and poles then dig a bean trench. STARTED BUT NOT FINISHED!

I am currently a ‘chores butterfly’…flitting from job to job!  Fortunately, I still have a treat or two growing on the plots to keep me going 🙂

Yum yum!!
Yum yum!!