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.