Catching up on the wet winter

The beds that needed to be dug and edged. And pear ‘Beth’ has produced suckers from the quince rootstock that need to be removed

Seemingly endless rain and gales meant that a lot of garden preparation did not happen over the past three months. The ground was just too wet to get onto. I hate to say it but we actually need a bit of rain now – the ground is getting dry and undug areas are cracking on the surface. But the current situation has allowed me to do some of the necessary work. I have hundreds of plants in pots, some brought from my last home, that have been in pots too long and really need to be planted out. So the past two days have involved some time sorting two beds. These were kept weed free for the past two years, partly through being sprayed but also by covering in cardboard and grass clippings (you end up with a lot of card after fitting an IKEA kitchen).

These two beds are where I planted some fruit trees. The apples are planted down the main drive so here are plums, pears and cherries. There are 11 trees, three pears, two cherries and six plums. The proportion of plums to pears does reflect which I like more, but also the diversity of plums. There is, as always a hiccough, because the nursery I ordered the fruit from confused my order for apple ‘Maribelle’ with plum ‘Mirabelle de Nancy’ – they offered both and I ordered the apple and got the plum. I will cope with it. I would plant more cherries since I like them the most, but they are big trees and, from experience, know that birds are better at picking them than me.

Even cutting away the edge makes a big difference

The trees were planted  a year ago though two of the plums were originally planted for a year on my allotment then dug up and kept for two years in a pot and then planted out – and they are doing OK!

Anyway, I have a lot of iris that are also suffering in pots and I wanted to put these in these beds so I had to tackle this job. First I had to cut away the edge and then dig the beds over. I have not been able to get the delivery of compost I needed for this, or my timber for the raised beds, so I have just been digging the soil over, as deeply as possible and will add a bit of compost when I plant but I am going to have to mulch the beds and hope that, since the soil is now broken up, the worms will do the rest.

One bed done – one to go

Anyway, it was a bit of a slog but I finished by tea time last night and they look much better. Now all I have to do is get those plants in before it rains later today.

There are lots of flowers on the ‘Opal’ plum

Plum ‘Lizzie’ is one that has had several moves. Last year it put on good growth and although it is a Japanese plum and flowers early, it also produces blooms over many weeks so I hope that it may actually crop this year. Like the others, it will be pruned to shape in May.

‘Concorde’ pear is covered in buds. I will let it carry a few fruits this year but, if all these set, I will have to thin them.








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4 Comments on “Catching up on the wet winter”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    April 2, 2020 at 10:43 pm #

    The ground looks very heavy – big clumps after you dug it. Hard work! I’m sorry I didn’t plant more plum trees.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 3, 2020 at 10:18 am #

      It is odd stuff. Some is heavy but I think because the soil was mixed when the house was built. The rest is just very very compacted. Once I give it a good whack it breaks up and is actually not too bad except for being almost totally devoid of organic matter. It is very hard work to dig for the first time but I think it is tameable with a lot of compost

      • Paddy Tobin
        April 3, 2020 at 10:25 am #

        If you have a farmer with a load of manure it would be a great help.

  2. tonytomeo
    April 3, 2020 at 4:32 am #

    That soil actually looks like it has been drying for a while, with those cracks in it.

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