Monday 25 March 2013

Tunneling (3) Beds and Paths

With the cover of the poly tunnel finished and the door and frame built on the western end I can trim off excess plastic and start to think about what to do inside. Ultimately we may do a weed proof membrane and raised beds with planks around, but for now we have decided to do this season with a temporary layout of paths laid with sheet corrugated iron (of which we have plenty) and the soil merely ridged up into beds as in the allotment. We may obtain duck-board walkways for the paths, being more attractive and less likely to inflict cuts. We have laid this out in the intended layout of 2 side beds and a central bed with a stone 'floor' as you step inside to avoid us having to wade about in mud.

The soil has already been dug over, so we know it is a bit of a dog's breakfast of stones, old peat turf, clay and buried stoloniferous grass. As I shovel and rake the ground into beds I am getting a chance to haul out the stones and peat turfs and to break up the bigger lumps of clay. I am getting quite a nice tilth in which the tomatoes should do OK. We are also relieved that the relentless North East winds have only flexed the structure around, puffing the panels in and out and slackening it to a degree, not done any damage. This is good news and we hope means that it will survive a few of those Atlantic storms that come at us from the NW and SW. It is also much much warmer than being out exposed to the NE blasts and the boggy eastern end is drying out superbly. We are very optimistic. We have also been donated some strawberry plants by Mentor Anne (Thank You, Anne!) to kick off our planting. These are in the central bed - you can just see them to the right of the wheel barrow in the 2nd picture.

Outside of the tunnel, meanwhile, the NE wind and cold weather have stopped any Spring like growth in its tracks. Expanding fruit tree buds are the same as they were a week ago. It's not so much that we have hard frosts and we have only had the light dusting of snow seen in this picture, but it is cold over all and growth is on hold. My potatoes and artichokes, planted in sunny enthusiasm on St Patrick's Bank Holiday Monday are hunkered down below ground. Tulips in tubs and Granny's bonnets in the big pots in the yard stopped expanding and the half open show of daffs stopped at the half open stage.

Still, the NE wind will not blow for ever and when it stops everything is well set up to start moving again. Tradition has it that you must get your early potatoes in by St Patrick's and the rest in by Good Friday. Going into St P's I was not at all sure I'd get my earlies in, but we got there in the end. Now going into Easter I am looking at my main crop, the blight resistant Hungarian variety, Sarpo Mira, chitting happily in the Tígín and thinking it would be unkind to plant them into my cold soil. Maybe we will get another warm burst and I will get the chance.

So, there you have it for this post. Liz has been baking again today thanks to another part of Anne's generous gift - a dozen free range, organic eggs. We have a honey and ginger cake, a fruit loaf, plain scones and cheese scones. The range is burning with a good fierce red glow and we have that 'all is safely gathered in' feeling. I leave you with a nice picture of William the Conqueror just because he is such a magnificent lad.


mazylou said...

I hope you both have up to date tetanus jabs, you know.

Matt Care said...

'They' don't seem to do that any more. Modern medical theory has it that once you've been jabbed ten times or so in youth, you are set up for life. They never see tetanus (lockjaw) any more..... allegedly.