Thursday, 16 February 2012

Fame At Last - I'm in The Spalding Guardian

Thursday 16th February 2012

How's this for a posed picture!
Shame they chose not to mention my blog!

The last couple of days have seen me trying to make my way through a long list of little jobs that need doing before the growing season is truly upon us. The greenhouse has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, but it's in my mind that my new, bigger greenhouse is still in it's box and needs a concrete base preparing before I can build it. While I'm doing that, I intend to build raised plinths for my water butts. The previous owners stood them on a pile of pallets, but a cubic metre of water on a pile of pallets only has one conclusion - collapse.
And those new trees won't grow if I let the grass grow round their bases. Grass is a surprisingly strong competitor for plant resources and will seriously stunt the growth of saplings. Later in the year I will mulch around the trees with grass clippings and old hay, but for now I want the water to be able to get through to the roots. But as the days get longer and the grass bursts into growth I have started this task by flattening any old cardboard boxes I have and slipping them over the top of the tree protectors. Not pretty, but functional and free. It won't be long before they begin to blend into the environment.

Blasted Rabbits (or Hares, or Deer)
It was as I was doing this job that I realised the dog roses I had planted had been severely mangled. In fact it was a struggle to find the stem of a couple, but the rest have effectively been fairly heavily pruned. They may even grow back bushier and stronger as a result. I had made the mistake of presuming the rabbits and hares would leave them alone because of the prickles...WRONG!
Not just the dog roses, but the sycamores too. I had read that these were immune to rabbit grazing. Either that was completely wrong, or there was another culprit, maybe hares or even the party of five roe deer which had been spotted leaping across the fields during the recent arctic conditions.
I had mistakenly purloined a few of the tree protectors for a hornbeam hedge I had previously planted, so I quickly improvised using cut off plastic bottles slipped over stakes and bamboo canes. As a temporary measure this has worked fine on the willow slips I have put in the ground on other parts of the farm. I will need to keep monitoring though. The rabbits may just move onto some other prized plants to graze instead!

Anyhow, as usually happens, my long list of little jobs had been usurped by a job which took a good chunk of the day. Not to worry!

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