Clearing the Ground for Beans in the Field

The weather, the weather, the bloody British weather! Yes, you may all be reading this from some glorious Mediterranean clime or some wonderfully warm but still dry country but the British summer time has hit us like a wet haddock on a Friday night out in Skegness. No two days have been alike, no two hours have been alike and no two minutes have gone by without someone taking the piss. Weather for gardeners is our most important ally but as usual our allies are spying on us and generally mucking around with our tools. Three days ago we lost a pair of secateurs, they are nowhere in the back garden, they have simply ceased to be. It has been raining for several days. So, the weeds have grown, the soil too wet, too parched, too feisty to even contemplate walking on but a few days ago, we simply opened our windows and yelled to the weather gods: 'Sod it'.

gardening, life on pig row

We have been clearing the ground for our runner beans and straightaway we have noticed the difference in our soil. Awhile back, we wrote about how the wartime garden had a real impact on our soil, and not in a good way, it had been stretched to breaking point for three years and we too experienced the same fears at those gardeners in 1945/46, the realisation that the war was over but the dig for victory wasn't and the soil wasn't up to much either. So, last year we mulched in autumn, then we mulched in winter, then we mulched in spring and all this mulching, other than giving us earthy smelling hands, has given us a soil that we found incredibly easy to weed. We know this because we weeded a bed that we'd dug only last year and that was a hard slog, it hadn't been mulched and it was compacted. The no dig bed you could sink your fist into and the worms, oh the worms, how they did wriggle and giggle beside us.

gardening, no dig gardening, life on pig row

Just about the moment we get out our string and notice that the secateurs were missing - see above rant - the heavens open, not in the kind of happy to see you summer spray that runs through films, the kind that young people fall in love in and middle-aged people get a cold, cough and inevitably take to their death beds. No, not that kind of rain, but the kind of rain that soaks your underwear before you've moved two yards. We yearn for a new shed roof, a shed that we can duck in under and have a cup of tea but our shed has sprung a leak and when it rains we have to run indoors down some steep steps, over a wood pile, scramble past a donated water butt and ricochet off a door waiting to be turned into a table before we collapse by the fridge freezer our knickers a permanent wet wedgie.

gardening, UK weather, life on pig row

After the rain stops, and we have dried off and donned new knickers we move out into a distinctly squidgy kind of garden, the kind the birds love to root around in, the kind fish take to easily and in our snorkel and diving suit - at this rate we will need one of those Victorian ones with two men on the bellows pumping summer sun into our helmet - we start to cut the string to lash the bean supports together and we have to do this with a bread knife because we cannot find the bloody secateurs! Half an hour later and we have done half the row of bean supports and we look longingly at our beans. Time for the longing shot...

gardening, runner beans, growing vegetables, life on pig row

...aren't they simply dreamy? Sorry, it's all that rain, we have started to hallucinate and move into the young people film, any minute now we will cough...COUGH...and have to take to our death....

gardening, growing vegetables, life on pig row's okay, we have just lost our train of thought because it has started to rain again and it's that kind of rain that plays hell with your underwear. Just to let you know that we have just found the secateurs in the front bloody garden! When they got there is unspoken and who is to blame is not being talked about.


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