Saturday, 5 March 2016

Winter update

The strange weather is continuing. It's been more normal winter with some frosts and a few flakes of snow, but interspersed with heavy rain and winds. But spring is creeping nearer and the daffodils are starting to brighten things up. The soil is still pretty wet, although last weekend I managed to finish digging over the old asparagus bed. Since Christmas it's either been horribly wet and heavy or frozen.

"Digging over" is a bit of a euphemism. It's been shifting and sifting networks of couch grass roots, old asparagus roots, buttercups and dandelions. I also discovered a large colony of horseradish. There are patches all over the garden which I plunder from time to time to make horseradish sauce from the roots. But it's pretty invasive. The huge roots spread and it seeds if you're not quick enough to dead-head the pretty white flowers. Had to dig really deep to try to remove it - but like dandelions, a little bit of root left in will generate a nice big plant in a couple of months.

This bed is going to be a new rhubarb bed. The existing rhubarb patch (8 plants plus a few off-shoots) are completely infested with couch grass. Every year we try to get rid of it but with only short-term success. The couch grass roots have sharp growing tips, like bamboo, and grow right through the rhubarb roots. So although the rhubarb plants are still producing a reasonable crop there is a definite gradual reduction in quality and quantity.

So the plan is to lift 4 or 5 plants, clean up the roots, and then place them in their new bed. Then dig over and clean up part of the current rhubarb patch and transplant the remaining plants.

So the next job is to shift a barrow or two of compost over and dig into the bed to give the rhubarb a really good feed. The sun is shining now - so I'm getting out in the garden while I can!


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