The Field Is Clear

A fortnight ago we started to tackle the area we call 'the field'. We explained in an earlier post why it is called this, even though the field area has dwindled over the years; the weeds hang on. So, it has been something that Andrew has asked to tackle, we have agreed only two hours max can be spent on this each day and that he should come in, have a hot bath and then rest, that way he won't damage his back any further by doing something stupid, like moving all these tyres up hill. He would if he could, and probably would give it a try but he knows the cost, so they are moved across beside the hedge and onto the temporary brick path we toyed with two years ago. This path actually sits on the old fruit patch and just shows how much a garden can change in eight years. It's time for Andrew to clear the field.


weeds

We want to pause for a moment to share this space with you, full of grass, dock and dandelion. This is the obligatory 'before' photo, as in, 'I thought this family gardened? This looks like a garage,' and so on. Andrew wants to put in six raised beds here with plenty of space around them so he can work them easily. As Andrew is disabled he can't do it all in one bite, so his technique is to use a border fork and loosen up the sod. The great thing about this is that for eight years we have added well rotted manure and compost to this bed, and unlike those first days of digging back in 2010, this break up easily. We still fill three compost bins full with grass and annual weeds, layering them with fresh chicken manure so that the heat rots everything and kills everything. Including our sense of smell because chicken manure stinks.

Weeding

You can see in the photo above where Andrew has started and stopped, normally an impression of where his knees have been is left in the soil. He does around 4-6 feet over the two hours, the sun helps, and we welcome the respite from rain though the wind batters him every now and then, even through our hornbeam hedges.


Vine weevil attack

He soon makes it to the raspberries which have been struggling over the last two years, a quick digging up of a dead patch reveals the culprit, it looks like vine weevil. Andrew rakes them to the surface and sits back with a cool drink in the shade and watches the birds descend on their snack. In fifteen minutes the weevils have been decimated. The canes are placed in a bucket of water and will stay there for 24 hours to allow them to get over the shock, drown whatever clings on, and then we'll plant them elsewhere or look to invest in some new canes for 2019. This is Glen Ample and we hanker after some autumn varieties too. Andrew digs out a large patch of Geranium Johnson's Blue, from one patch he gets twelve new plants which we water and put down behind the house where it is sheltered, and they can grow away.


Weeding

All this didn't take Andrew 2 hours, it has taken him ten days, that's around 20 hours of weeding to get clean soil so we can now make the raised beds and make this an area he can safely garden in. We end with the obligatory 'after' photo but let's face it, it may have taken ten days, 20 hours but in those ten days no weed has come back.

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