The Walled Garden is my personal Paradise and we now have a new gardener JR! JT is still not well enough to come back, but hopefully that will happen when his Doctor gives him permission. In the mean time JR will be joining us from the 22nd June and he will be changing the growing method to organic. This is very exciting and JR is very knowledgeable, and he has the full confidence of BD and myself. So the way forward is cow-manure of which we have an endless supply. We do after all milk around 400 cows. According to JR the great thing about our girls’ manure is that it’s been through their 5 stomachs and therefore has no weed seeds in it. This is essential if we are going to stop spraying! So here you see the first load deposited on the Black Hamburg Grape. Our pride and joy and supplier of endless black grapes, some of which was made into the most delicious Grape and Rosemary Jelly, accompaniment to lamb and pheasant.
Last year when Laura Weil was here and we were waging war on groundsel, I asked her how do we win this battle? She said make those paths into lawn. Field Marshal Dillon from DEL did this very well, but the soil under the gravel is very poor and the grass is thin. When Laura came back in April she had the idea of seeing if we could improve the soil enough to sow some wild flower seeds in this area. Alas because JT fell ill there was not enough time to finish the job, but the photo shows that just a tiny bit of good soil will improve the quality of the grass. So, if we can keep the pheasants out we could clearly sow something pretty in a pattern for some years till the quality of the grass has improved. I think it is quite endearing how a little sprinkling of compost can quickly green up the grass.
Part of going organic is that we will have to weed a great deal more, especially in the beginning. However, and I realise this makes me sound rather simple, it is important in the glass houses not to water everything. If you water generally, then all the weed seeds in the ground will be encouraged to grow. If you only water what you have planted, guess what? It is only those plants that grow. Any weed that does decide to come up will be easily and quickly identified and removed!!!!
One way of clearing ground organically, obviously this is something JR has taught me in the last 72 hours, is that if you want to clear a piece of ground of weeds; then you put clear plastic or like us an old aluminium window frame with glass over a piece of ground and leave it for a couple of sunny days. This works as an incubator for seeds in the ground below. I’m currently working my way round the gooseberry bed.