What a great way to start the day, a fresh smoothie, well they work anytime of the day, yesterday Mrs Nextdoor came to lunch, that was lunch, she enjoyed it as much as me, and the key at the moment is the kale, the frost we had has turned it very sweet, I add to it, flay leaf parsley from the garden, a banana, fresh ginger, turmeric, ground cloves, chia seed and to bring it all together almond milk. This way you can eat a lot of kale raw. The King of Smoothies (Thomas) will be back soon, I am ready.
I knew that I had a weed problem, well with bindweed but I did not know till today to what level the problem was at, it is a major problem that I really need to get on top of, I spent most of my day on my hands and knees going through the soil getting out all roots that I can but I know that at the same time I am making root cuttings. I amy have to paint round-up onto the new shoots as they come up in the spring. I only got through half the plot today and got half a large bucket of root out.
Flowers in the winter do seem to be a great joy, I have a bunch of flowers from the garden on my desk which give off a great scent as I sit here getting a talk ready for Austria next week. The highlight of the bunch has to be Chimonanthus praecox, not a great looking shrub in the summer but a show stopper in the winter, another is Sarcococca confuse, a great plant year round but a shrub that gives strong scent in the winter. These plants help get you out into the garden at this time of the year.
I have now moved out of the fruit cage to start working on the autumn raspberries, they get treated very differently to the summer ones, we cut them down to the ground, I am going to lift all the plants and and weed the root system, we have a very big problem with bindweed in that area and so have to clean them up each year to try and get on top of the problem, by doing this we do reduce the problem each year but it is going to take time to get on top of it. These raspberries are also not in a cage because the birds are not a problem in the autumn, there is enough for them to eat.
I can now move out of the fruit cage, my work in there is almost over. I have put a large layer of compost around the base of the currants and gooseberries , that should help them to fruit well, now all I need to do is run the forget-me-not through it all, these will help to keep the weeds down in spring and give a great display. Another great end to the week.
I did have to laugh when I opened my seed order from Moles Seeds, some of the bags are the size a mid-west farmer would get, it is not the end of the world but I really need to learn the weight system. I will keep them in the cool so that I can use the over the ned few years. It is great to have the first of my seed anyway. I also got some seed potatoes from moles, also looks like a big box, we may be living on Charlotte potatoes this summer.
Today it was the turn of the blackcurrant’s, they needed a good clean up, there seems to have been a lot of broken branches, I have to say the smell when cutting the branches was great, very special. The blackcurrant’s fruit along the stem of the last years wood so it is important to cut out old wood and let new wood take over. You would not want any wood older then three years old. With the pruning that I have carried out, I have found it useful to have another look over the brush after a coffee and chocolate break, fresh eyes, even better would be to have Thomas here to go over my work but he is back in Australia enjoying the sun, how I hate him. I do miss his help very much.
Some days you have a feeling that you have become better at a job that you have done before, this is how I felt after my day of cutting back the redcurrants today. Tom talked over with me what I needed to do but I had a feeling that I did not have it set in my mind what I had to do well enough so Perry came up and talked over the job with me again and I feel I have cut them back better then I have ever done before. The first thing I did was cleared out the centre of the bush, it lets the light in, then cut back the spurs, they flower and fruit on buds that cluster at the base of young wood and on the spurs that have developed on older wood. the wood needs to be strong enough to hold the wood so anything that can not do it, get rid of it. This is the great thing about gardening, you never stop learning, and I feel I am getting better at the job.
I am really enjoying the work in the fruit cage, Matt our great North American student came and helped me in there between christmas and new year, he started cleaning and pruning the gooseberries, then Tom came with his wife to be and child for the new year, on new years day we went and had a look at the fruit cage, Tom was a great help with what I need to do with the plants, the rule is to have 16 stems at the end of your pruning, four for each of the past four years, mine are not in great shape so I have had to go in a lot harder but I am happy with the result and will build on them over the next few years. They new need compost around them.
There is a lot of dark time at this time of the year, I am happy to know that we have past the shortest day, this of course means that those in the south have past the longest day. In spear time over the christmas period I have sorted my seed out and ordered the new lot for this year, I have sent Kyle a list of seeds from America and the rest ordered from here, I have found Moles seed and the real seed catalogue to have a good range here in England, I also had a lot left over from last year. Thank you to my supporter who paid for this years seed, it is very kind of you.