Archive for Weeds

Autumn gardening

The unseasonably warm weather this November has meant we have been able to carry on gardening althougththe ground is very wet due to all the rain we have had.

Firstly we pulled up all the runner bean plants, weeded the bed and covered it with black weed suppression sheet.  We have done this to a number of our vegetable beds once we have harvested all the produce, as this cuts down on the weeds and will give us a head start in the Spring, when we come to seed for the new season’s growth.

Vegetable beds tucked up for the winter

The remaining bean pods that we took down, we dried in front of the woodburning fire and took out all the seeds for next year.  We have so many that I think we can start up in competition to Thomas and Morgan, – we could be Arnold and Arnold bean seed suppliers!

runner bean seeds drying out

We have pruned the Bramley apple tree and put all the trimmings through the wood chipper and then added all the chippings to the compost heap.  We still have the magnolia tree in the back garden to do.

The hanging baskets were looking a bit sad, so we took them down and replanted the half moon baskets with spring bulbs, hyacinths, tete a tete narcissus, and crocus, then put pansies and polyanthus on the top to give some immediate colour.

replanted half moon baskets

I’ve taken out all the dying bedding plants and replanted the pots with bulbs and pansies.  The pansies are all in flower now and the bulbs are already pushing through.

a coule of pots of pansies and bulbs

Tarquin our old black cat likes to sit on the empty pots.  He got in on this picture.

Tarquin amongst the pots

I still have  a sack of daffodil bulbs to plant and wallflowers to put out, but the geraniums , godetia and begonias are still in flower in mid November, so it seems a shame to pull them up yet.  We haven’t had any frost yet to kill them off like we would normally have had by this time of year.

Neil has been strimming back the weeds in the paddock, and gave the lawns another and hopefully  final cut today. He wants to spend another couple of days in the woods, gathering fire wood for the Winter, but  he also wants to create another couple of vegetable beds for this year, and the thinking is, if he does it now, whilst we have all the fresh top soil down, we can cover them up for the winter and stop the weeds growing.

So the Autumn gardening continues.

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Invasion in the paddock

We’ve had an invasion in the paddock.  An invasion of Himalyan Balsam plant, which grows tall, over 6 feet tall, and has a pretty pink flower.  The bees love it as they are drawn to the sweet nectar. So we let them have their fill of it.

The pink flowers of Himalyan Balsam

However, it is a weed, not just a weed but a viscous thug of a weed. It spreads and will take over a patch of land. When the flowers go to seed, the seed pods burst and spread the seeds up to 7 metres or 21 feet, so the following year encroaching on more land.

Himalyan Balsam is said to be as much of a nuisance as Japanese Knotweed and needs to be destroyed.  So one afternoon this week, Neil and I went down to the bottom of the paddock and pulled up all the Himalyan Balsam (it is quite shallow rooted) and put on a bonfire.  The next day Neil set light to it all.

Neil with his bonfire August 2011

The bonfire smouldered and smoked for over a day, but eventually that was the end of the Himalyan Balsam for another summer.

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Sunflowers

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;”

so starts the poem by William Blake about sunflowers. 

Last year we grew some sunflowers from seed.  They were quite successful and produced big heads.  When they died down I took the seeds and fed them to the chickens.  Unbeknown to us, the chooks didn’t eat them all but left some on the ground.  When we moved the chicken run, these seeds were left to germinate all on their own, and this year they have produced lovely flowers amongst all the other wildflowers (weeds!) that have grown up in the paddock where the chickens used to be.

sunflowers in the paddock August 2011

What is ironic is that the sunflowers I have grown from seed this year are a pathetic 2 feet tall and nowhere near flowering.

sunflower in the paddock August 2011

So you know what I am going to do later on this year when these flowers have died back – I am going to sprinkle the seeds all round the wild part of the paddock, and with any luck next year I will have a field of sunflowers!!

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Suppressing the weeds!

Whilst the soil here is very fertile and everything grows well, that includes the weeds.  We have been battling the weeds in the fruit cage area all Spring, pulling them up and putting down old carpet to act as weed suppressant sheet, and then spraying the grass with weedkiller until it looked like this below.

killing off the weeds and adding old carpet

Today we laid 100 metres of black suppressant sheet in the fruit cage area.  We cut round the raspberry canes and fruit bushes to cover the whole area, until we ran out of the black fabric.  Quickly went to Ebay and purchased another 100 metre roll so now have to wait for it to arrive before we can finish the job.

Laying the black weed suppressant sheet

A little toad came to join us in the task………….

little toad

We love all little animals here, so he was welcome to join us. 

Why don’t toads, hens, cats eat weeds?  that would make our life easier.

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