Joe and I went down to the plot yesterday. Some cheeky purple shoots of the green manure are poking through the soil to the side of the shed and on the left by the border with the mysterious ghost gardeners next door. I’ve never seen them but they seem to be there – they have no shed so I know they’ve been by the subtle movement of the fork and spade around their neat little plot. I don’t know why there seems to be no germination in the bit at the front of the shed, I can only think that the soil type might be different or that it should have been more rigorous in pulling out grassroots and whacking clods of mud. Hopefully that area will germinate soon as it’s hard to tell whether what’s coming up is weeds or manure!

Joe went down first, I stayed at home to do some washing for an hour or so and went to meet him expecting to have to do my fair share of lifting paving slabs, however, by the time I got there he was laying the last one so we now have a path in situ running alongside the onions and garlic up to the shed. It’s actually pretty useful as I keep my wellies in the shed and don’t have to dirty my normal shoes when walking up to it now!

I didn’t have any real plans but ended up putting some dried out turf and nettles from behind the shed on the compost heap and then attacking the nettles in front of it with the azada and a hand trowel. I left some of the nettles in place as they’re good for the soil apparently but tried to rein them in by digging a shallow trench and putting a fence post in the ground horizontally in order to stop the roots from spreading back into the front of the heap . This may all be fairly futile as the nettles have already survived one attempt to cut them back but I did dig out all or most of the roots and I have tried to make a stinky nettle soup for plant feed by steeping all the cuttings in water and covering them up with sacking.

My parents have been babysitting our plastic compost heap since we moved and are bringing it down in a few weeks time. I’m quite excited about transferring the usable compost into it and clearing the weeds from the one made of pallets that we inherited. It currently has bind weed coming up through it which is no good – it will likely spread to the rest of the garden if we’re not careful! I hate the stuff – I wish I could take a blow torch to it but it would probably survive!

I’ve been reading about techniques of rotating composts in the natural gardening book we have but that may end up becoming too time consuming – I’ve been layering it up as well as I can so hopefully it will have a good structure but it’s all a bit of trial and error at the moment. I don’t expect we’ll have any usable home made stuff for a while which is why we bought two big sacks of peat-free stuff a couple of weeks ago for potting and improving areas we get to too late for the green manure.


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