Monday, 13 April 2015

Garden on a Roll: Planting! (Part 1)

So last Friday I rushed home from work eager to see if Mother Nature had left a little something for me, and sure enough, my new garden was sat waiting on the doorstep!

Not sure how long the box had been sitting there, but it was now 7.30pm on a warm spring day so it was vital I got the plants out for a good drink before the light faded. The box itself wasn’t terribly heavy, but large and awkward, so I dragged it through the house and unpacked quickly. Inside were a series of instructions, gloves, tools, a thick paper roll, and the plants themselves, all in numbered pots, and slotted in carefully to avoid damage on the journey – and in remarkably good nick given the journey they’d been on! 

The next morning I sat down and reviewed the instructions, which came on both in a DVD and in print. Planting part did not sound too onerous, but the instructions stressed that good soil preparation was the key to giving the plants the best start in life. Hmmm. My flowerbed soil had not been looked after for years, so my plan for tipping a few bags of topsoil over it and hoping for the best suddenly did not seem enough. I googled the best methods for soil improvement and came across something called double digging, which basically involved removing the flowerbed topsoil, forking over the subsoil a bit, adding a layer of compost, then turning the topsoil back onto it. This can only be done in small trenched sections at a time, so takes up a shedload of time and looked backbreaking, but if we wanted a great garden then we needed to put in the groundwork. Literally!

So the work began and we soon got into our rhythm: husband digging up the topsoil before I jumped into the trench to remove stones/weed roots/bits of plastic, fork over the subsoil, then tip in a chunk of compost, before jumping back out to allow husband to replace the topsoil and move to the next trench. The sun beat down as we toiled our way along the bed, slowed down by a number of obstacles including the foundation of fence posts, and having to dig around the rose bushes being left in situ. Once or twice I tugged at roots which I then realized might be linked to the roses, and quickly covered them back over hoping that I’d done no damage (time will tell on this). After 2 hours we finally reached the end of the flower bed and were fit for collapse, but the job was only half done!...To be continued....

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