Weeds and seeds

So I got this allotment. The permaculture way I suppose would be to haul in a ton of material and cover the soil completely with layer upon layer to suppress weeds until they die through a lack of sunlight.
Without that amount of composting material, however, I soon found all kinds of stuff emerging from the soil.

Something old, something new – seeds and plants

One thing I’m really happy about is my herbs. And a couple of plants I didn’t plan for. My predecessor on this allotment let everything go to seed and afterward everything on site was dug into the soil. So I got some free onions which I transplanted for their second year in the soil. And quite a few coriander plants spread all over the site.

Then there are a couple of plants (yes, weeds) I don’t mind – if there are a few of them. However a few isn’t what I got. Every bit of root of the stinging nettles on the site sprouted. So far I think I’ve pulled up 4 bucketloads of stinging nettles and grasses…hang on… 5… but it’s down from a bucket a day a bucket per week. Just about. And that’s just stinging nettles and grasses.

And then there’s a plant I once looked up and it appears to be called Lady’s thumb, of which the leaves are apparently edible. Unfortunately I was raised knowing a limited number of vegetables which were readily available at the supermarket and not too much hassle to prepare for dinner (that’s my guess). So trying out new stuff is something I’m very cautious about and there’s veggies in the shops I haven’t even got round to tasting, let alone stuff that grows spontaneously all over the place. Since this Lady’s thumb isn’t my biggest worry, I leave the plants to dry on top of the soil. Horsetail doesn’t seem to be on the list of edibles… more’s the pity.

I did get some plants to grow – finally! I’ve got chamomile, thyme, dill growing happily underneath a couple of young apple trees. And seleriac. I grew a couple of lychee plants from their – well – beanlike seeds. Two of them have survived the transplant into the allotment so far.

And I’ve got leek flowers to look forward to, from leftover leek stems I planted last year. I had hoped to add a picture here, but I’m still waiting for them to flower. Which is why I’ve added a couple of photos of my (mainly) tulips under the hedge – I dug some more into the spaces underneath the hedge this year, which turned out great since the new tulips produced their blooms around the time the ‘veteran’ tulips had gone over. The anemone was a nice surprise.

   

Respect for weeds… oh yes indeed

All things considered, I greatly respect weeds for their resilience and speed of growth the moment any rain falls. It would be easier to like them if their numbers were fewer though… after I planted a few young plants and watered them daily for a week because we had virtually no rainfall, guess what I got? In less than half a square metre there were dozens, no, well over a hundred little weed seedlings popping up. In just that small patch. And I’m not even sure these are edible.
Apart from that, it’s strawberry season over here! And I got a couple of wonderfully sweet raspberries too, from a bush that delivers fruit from june (to my surprise) well into november. I wonder if there are several raspberry shrubs hiding in the same patch?
Plants are amazing.

Advertisements

Flowers under the hedge

It’s about time for an update on my bulbs under the hedge! Since we’ve got a beech hedge which looks rather brown and drab in winter, I decided to try to bring a splash of color by planting flower bulbs underneath and in between the plants.

And then winter hit. Or rather, it splashed. It was so bad I’m still wondering how the neighbors’ grape vine didn’t drown. The big question was whether the bulbs were in any way affected – and which ones, if any, were going to give a sign of life in spring.

The bad bit? I haven’t seen many anemones under the hedge. Perhaps those small bulbs just got soaked and rotted away, I can’t tell. The good news? The tulips did very well. Mind you, these were tulips from a package that said they grew 20 centimetres tall. They didn’t. Not here, anyway. The first tulip started to blossom almost as soon as it was out of the ground.

Tulip under the hedge: early on

But then it kept growing nearly 35 centimetres – without the flower. Here it is from two different angles.

Tulip under the hedge - grown quite a bit!

Any regrets? Well, yes. I regret the flowers are gone now. And I especially regret I didn’t put in more tulips! They have done so well and on rationed sunlight, too. I put them in sparingly in shady areas and the one side-effect I’ve noticed is that the flowers didn’t get bleached by the sun. They stayed the same firy red hue. Whereas the tulips in full sunlight looked great (with anemones and crocuses) but they didn’t quite keep the same richness of color.

Have you got flowers in odd corners of your garden? Or plants you thought would be lucky to survive in the spot you gave them?

Bulbs under the hedge

For the past few weeks I’ve spent time digging tiny and not-so-tiny holes in the ground in my garden… planting bulbs. If you’ve visited my blog before you may have noticed I wrote I don’t have that much space, so where do I leave bulbs?

Flower bulbs

Bags and bags of flower bulbs… these are a couple I selected for the back yard. These didn’t all fit exactly under the hedge.

Continue reading