Archive | April, 2015

Strawberry patch – update!

25 Apr

It’s now day 2 of woman V weeds. Me and my youngest spent two pleasant hours at the sunny plot today. He was determined to find as many snails, caterpillars and beetles as possible and I was determined to knock out the weeds.

I squirted the outside of the strawberry patch with some weed killer. I don’t like using the stuff anymore than I like using the blue poisonous slug pellets but the plot we got 3 years ago was such a mass of weeds, some very well-established perennials whose roots go down far further than I can dig. So I have used it on occasion, not on any parts I plan to grow food on just the borders and bits that have been laid low for a year.

This strategy has worked well, the weeds have never been conquered but they have been easier to stay on top of and I feel like I am able to grow as organic food as I can while keeping on top of the weeds and whatever I grow it’s certainly a lot more organic than the vegetables bought in supermarkets.

So squirt I did before settling in for another two hours of weeding. The time was punctuated with making sure my son was not bothering our new plot neighbours too much while secretly feeling grateful he was chatting away to someone else for a change.

We left two hours later, tired and muddy and, in the case of my son, in urgent need of a shower (he had somehow managed to roll around in the weed killer briefly- luckily he was wearing long sleeves and long trousers so no major contact was made but it’s still another reason to use weed killer with extreme caution if kids are involved).

I can’t say the patch is pristine, I think there is still at least another two hours weeding left to be done. Most of the time was spent vowing that this year I will get my act together and put some heavy duty membrane down around each strawberry plant to make sure I am not doing the same time wasting weeding this time next year.

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How it looked Tuesday

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How it looked yesterday

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How it looked at the end of today’s session.

Uncovering strawberry patches

24 Apr

My last two trips to the plot have been all about revealing two wee corners of the plot that are the kids own little growing areas.

In these little patches we started off by growing anything and everything – radishes, potatoes and onions. There were failed attempts at growing carrots. And then my eldest brought home a strawberry plant from school and from that one wee plant a whole strawberry patch has flourished and then (when my youngest got jealous – radishes really don’t compare to strawberries in his book) we transplanted some off shoots from her patch to his.

Now it has to be said I am regretting not putting membrane down to protect the strawberries from being overgrown by weeds. And I was pretty slack all of last year keeping on top of the weeds’ rampant progress. Then last week I noticed I could no longer actually see my daughter’s little plot anymore, it was totally overgrown.

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Blink and you miss it! My eldest’s strawberry patch.

During the Easter holidays when I took the kids down to the plot with me I did suggest they might like to weed their own patches but the novelty wore off after about three minutes and so here I am, this week sorting out non-essential weeding!

My son’s patch came up trumps after about two hours of weeding had ensured two buckets full of weeds were removed.

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My youngest’s strawberry patch uncovered to it’s former glory!

My eldest’s patch was far worse though and today I spent two hours but came away feeling in the battle of weed V woman, today the weeds won. There was a huge clump of grass that I just could not budge. I was tired and in need of a cuppa so I left having covered up the rogue grass clump, deciding perhaps next time I need to come armed with some weed killer to finish the job off.

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Half way there! My eldest’s strawberry patch before the weeds defeated me!

So on this occasion the weeds won the battle but the war is far from over.

Power Tools Rock!

14 Apr

It’s Easter and I have school holidays that don’t quite match my kids’ holiday. Cue lots of childcare arrangements and an elongated period of un-productivity.

However before Easter came along I was feeling all loved up with my plot. So much so I actually requested a cordless rechargeable strimmer for my birthday. Now I know nothing says mid-life crisis more than a sudden penchant for power tools but I really don’t care and at the risk of sounding all Jeremy Clarkson I have to say this power tool, at least, rocks.

What was I thinking? I can’t believe I have trimmed with blunt edging sheers for the last two years and actually kinda gave up last summer. My plot is now looking ludicrously civilized and my son just sits watching me strim mesmerized and shouting I didn’t know mummy could do that.

So what more can I say, best 50 quid I have spent in a while and my plot looks less like a jungle and now has visible borders and neat-ish grass paths!

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My new toy!

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Half done – the battery doesn’t last that long it has to be said

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Fruit corner as it’s never been seen before!