As the daylight hours are getting longer I have the opportunity of doing a spot of gardening once I arrive home from work. Today I had the added bonus of leaving work early and so was able to spend a good couple of hours tackling a job that I started at the weekend: building another raised bed.
We have 6 large beds and 2 small beds and these are used exclusively by my wife, Katherine (some of you may know her as Florist in the Forest) to grow cut flowers. At the moment it seems like we can’t build enough beds, or build them fast enough, to ensure that we have the necessary space to plant all of the plants that are growing in pots and seed trays but that will soon need planting out.
Building another raised bed; all the turf lifted by sundown.
Now that the turf is lifted, the next job will be to rotavate the soil, add some more topsoil and compost (this will either be mushroom compost that has been sitting around for quite some time or well rotted horse manure) then get the actual boards in place.
I’ve also lifted some paving from an area next to the house in order to extend the size of the border that we have there. I think that Katherine is eyeing up this area for more cut flowers but I am determined to retain this patch for purely ornamental purposes. The earth here is very compact and is going to require plenty of work and added nutrients before it is fit for planting.
Having lifted a number of paving slabs, I'm looking forward to cultivating the soil and getting in some new plants
We have plenty of primula vulgaris in the garden, and I intend to propagate from this by sowing green seed. As ever, Carol Klein is the lady to turn to for advice on propagation and green seed should be sown as follows:
1 Fill a seed tray with good seed compost and firm down.
2 Take off a whole seed pod, starting with the fattest at the base of the flower stem.
3 Carefully open the seed pod from the top using fingernails or a sharp knife.
4 Peel back the capsule covering to expose the green seeds and gently scrape off the seeds on to the surface of the compost.
5 Distribute the seed evenly over the surface. This is sometimes tricky because the seed is sticky.
6 Cover the surface of the compost with sharp grit.
7 Place the tray in a container of shallow water until the surface of the grit becomes wet, then remove and put outside in a shady place.
There are accompanying images which can be viewed by accessing the article (printed way back in 2002) via the Telegraph gardening section.
For me this simple Primrose is the best of them all; I’m not a fan of the various gaudy colours available at garden centres. This Primrose, nestled against the base of a tree trunk, is beauty without ostentation; quite wonderful.
The beautiful primula vulgaris
Finally, and this goes out especially to Dave, Alliums. How do they compare?
Just waiting for those umbels!
So this weekend will be one of hard labour I think; but it will all be worth it come the summer.