Thursday, 12 February 2015

Dirty fingernails and an achy back

Posted by Rosie

Yes, I have dirty fingernails and an achy back as well as sore hands and exceedingly dishevelled hair. Am I worried?

NO, not at all!

Because all that means the weather has been kind in Normandy this week and I have been very busy in the garden.  Woo hoo!  After the panic of last week when I thought I was getting so far behind this week has been much better and I have been able to tick off some of the things I hadn't previously done on my December gardening list.

I have attacked the raspberry canes.  Autumn fruiting raspberries need all the old canes cutting back to ground level in February.  Summer fruiting ones *should* have been pruned after fruiting in July but it was one job that escaped me last year so I had to do those too.  This is somewhat more fiddly as you need to only cut the dead stems that fruited last year and leave all the new ones that will bear fruit this June and July. 


The raspberry patch before pruning
The raspberry patch after pruning

I'm pleased to get that job out of the way even if I do now have sore fingers from the prickles and dishevelled hair from diving to the bottom of the patch to cut the canes back.  Tom help me remove the canes to the fire site too which is something I usually leave several weeks to do.  Merci young man!

Next on my agenda was the strawberry patch.  I had started to weed that back in December and then it got too wet to walk on the soil.  Now I've weeded through all of it, getting the worst of the weeds out and I will go back soon for a more thorough weed clearance and also lay some weed suppressing fabric down the central path.  I weeded away getting ever more dirty fingernails and a rather achy back.  But who cares when I am sure I could smell strawberry jam as I dug on.

Strawberry patch before weeding
Strawberry patch after weeding

Digging a bean trench was on my December list.  Runner beans are hungry and thirsty beasts so it is a good idea to add lots of organic matter into the soil where they are to be planted.  I am actually going to take a bit of a risk this year and plant at least some of the beans in the same place as last year as the poles are still strong and it seems a lot of effort to move them.  You are advised not to grow the same plant in the same patch 2 years in a row but I reckon for one year it shouldn't be a problem.  I've therefore weeded along the poles and will dig the trench and add the well rotted farmyard manure just as soon as the farmer delivers me another load (which he has promised will be soon).

Bean poles next to manured and covered beds

Finally, with this kinder weather (it felt almost warm by mid afternoon and I have had the door of the polytunnel open for a few hours each day) there are signs of harvests to come.  Previous buds of rhubarb are now showing immature leaves ...


Very young rhubarb

...and it looks like we might be eating purple sprouting broccoli soon:


Tiny head of purple sprouting broccoli


Have you managed to get out in the garden this week?  I'm off to read some of the other blogs in Annie's How Does Your garden Grow linky to see what other gardeners have been up to.


Simple Wanderlust

25 comments :

  1. That looks like a lot of hard, yet very satisfying, work. Can't wait to see what comes up!

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  2. That purple sprouting broccoli looks fab! After reading about you being in a panic last week I realised I needed to get organised, especially as I hadn't done nearly as much you had already. The seeds I ordered have arrived, now I'm just waiting for the delivery of my compost. P.S. When my hair looks like a tumbleweed, I know it's been a good gardening session :)

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    1. Ha ha - so true about hair! Sometimes I have quite literally been dragged through a hedge.

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  3. You are such a trooper, you've been very hard at work. Getting dirty in the garden is very satisfying (I don't mean that to sound as rude as it does), especially when you get to see the rewards of all your hard work.
    Hope the beans do well!

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    1. Oh I do like getting dirty in the garden ....

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  4. you have been extremely busy and i have no doubt you will have a very successful garden!

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  5. oh i love it your so inspiring i cant wait to get some bits in the ground

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    1. Aw thank you, Helen and good luck with your garden.

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  6. Sounds like you've tackled lots of jobs that would have been very easy to put off! Hope you managed to get some new wellies before you started :)

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    1. I did get new wellies, Catherine, from the Le Chameau factory shop. €66 online and I paid €25 :)

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  7. I salute you Captain! I love that feeling of happy satisfaction after a job is ticked off a list, especially when it's overdue. I really should weed out my small strawberry patch too, I was stood staring aimlessly out of the window at it this morning which I am going to pretend is a start...

    Rhubarb poking up in grandads garden too - it cant come soon enough for me - I am total Rhubarb hound!!!

    Thanks for joining in again Rosie, it's great to hear that you are back in the zone now and enjoying be out and working hard x

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    1. Rain stopped play for a couple of days but I hope to be back out there again tomorrow. I have beans to sow.

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  8. Lovely to be out there and getting on top of things. I think I cut back my Autumn raspberries too early this year so we'll see how they fare. love the look of the broccoli, I think it's such an attractive vegetable, if you know what I mean?!

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    1. Hopefully you'll get a good crop of raspberries - they seem pretty forgiving plants.

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  9. I ache to be there. I ... I want to do something this great. This is what I grew up seeing what my parents and grandparents do. Till the soil and enriched it. #hdygg

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    1. Good luck with your aubergines again this year.

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  10. My! You have been busy - but I bet the dirty fingernails, dishell ed air and achey back (well maybe not the back) awake it all worthwhile #hdygg

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    1. Yes they do although I could do without the achy back, like you say.

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    2. And we'll done for interpreting my original comment - not sure what happened there! :o)

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    3. It took me a while but once I'd donned the deerstalker and puffed on my pipe it all became clear ;)

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  11. You have been so busy! I need to do all of that! Must prune the raspberries first. I'm so excited to see how your plot grows.

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    1. And I need to prune all the other fruit bushes.

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  12. Oh wow, you have been working hard...my back aches just looking at it! Think of all that lovely produce you're going to have in Summer & early Autumn...makes all the early season work worthwhile! #hdygg

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