Thursday, 19 March 2009

Messy Day

A nice start to the day - a pretty Small Tortoiseshell.
A messy day with lots of messing around. It feels like I didn't accomplish much and that I flitted around a bit like the pretty Tortoiseshell. After assembling the new Mantis Tiller yesterday, it went outside today for it's first attempt to break up the soil which will be our new beds.

It will never look this clean again!

I have wanted one for years but never had a garden large enough to justify it.

There is definitely a technique to using Matilda, and I haven't quite worked out exactly what that is! I'm sure trying to break through matted grass and about 3" of thatch didn't help so I will wait to do more - not sure how long the Glyphosate will take to kill off the grass but I have plenty more to keep me occupied until that happens.

For a first attempt, this actually went quite well. It would have taken me much, much longer to get to this stage with a fork.

I kept reminding myself that I am only aiming to break up the soil at the bottom of the beds.

Then the other new not-a-toy, a petrol lawnmower with a nice powerful Briggs & Stratton engine. I'm sure there are techniques for using this too. Annoyingly it has a 'dead man's handle' which I accept is an important safety feature. It is also a bloody irritation because every time you let go of the handle to empty the collecting box the engine cuts out, there will be modifications made which would horrify a Health & Safety person, but tough. I tried to "scalp" the vegetable area to (theoretically) make it easier when we come to cultivate the beds but there is so much thatch built up that I didn't get very far. The mower comes with lots of splendid attachments and extras, including a Scarifying Kit, but there is not much point using it on an area that is about to be "de-lawned".

It's a bit worrying when we think of this as the "little mower" because eventually we'll need a full-size ride-on.
The mower will pay for itself by the end of the summer given how much it was costing us to have the grass cut last year.

When I'd had enough of mowing I had the "bright idea" to mark out with sticks and string where the new beds will go. The Assistant Gardener, who had watched proceedings up to this point with an experienced eye, and not moved an inch, decided now was a good time to wander around seeing what Mummy was doing. Assistant Gardener's eyesight is not as good as it used to be and he kept walking into the strings. Maybe I won't do that after all . . .

Assistant Gardener (in need of a good brushing) keeping a close eye on proceedings

Finally spent half an hour clambering around in the front bed next to the Escallonia hedge which I never finished clearing out last summer. Pulled out another four large cherry suckers and a lot more ivy, and dug out a load of huge stones. I think "once upon a time" someone was attempting to make a rockery-type feature at the front. I was piling the stones on the wall just to keep them out of the way when a neighbour walked past and stopped for a chat. End result was that she brought her car back 10 minutes later and took all the stones away for HER rockery. Still leaves me with a few broken bricks and lumps of concrete to get rid of but I think she took 75% of it, bless her. Gives me motivation to haul out more large stones tomorrow knowing they'll be gone by tea-time!

Despite working in full sunshine all day the fells were barely visible under a heavy haze.


  1. Well, I've seen quite a few HUGE bumbly bees, but no butterflies here as yet - and what pretty flowers! I'm guessing at rosemary from the shape of the leaves?

  2. We've had bumblies and butterflies today - another day of stitching mesh to the hen-run - but Yayy! It's all done and stapled at the bottom! (Still no door though!)

    Huge garden Bilbo - but huge fun eh?

  3. Sorry Hazel, it's heather. Badly in need of a good chop back and feed but one of the few things in flower at present and providing food for lovelies such as the flutterby and some bumblies.

  4. Hi Flum so glad your sewing is done and you can get back to sowing and sewing???

    Of all days for you to say "huge garden, but huge fun". . . Management and I have just been messing around with Google Maps and looking at our old house - we reckon this plot is at least six times larger than the last one. No wonder I'm knackered all the time!

  5. You can tell that I don't 'do' flowers, can't you! So much to learn - but every day's a schoolday eh?

  6. Hazell, I suspect you know more about flowers than I do about growing veg!

  7. what a lot you have achieved in the past few weeks while I have been 'off line' Bilbo.

    This is going to be one huge vegie plot by the look of it!

    Don't over do it health wise now.....we know you too well and knwo you can suddenly come to the end of your tether! take care dear.

  8. Dear Granny B, I am being sensible, honest!!! I'm taking lots of breaks, eating properly and this will all stop on Monday when (a) it rains and (b) the laundry and grocery shopping need to get done!


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