Saturday, September 24, 2005

Trench warfare against the rabbits

I am sitting here feeling really tired after a busy day at the allotment. The weather was lovely and sunny, with intermittent cloud, but no wind, so I wanted to make the most of it as rain is forecast for tomorrow and Monday.

After spending yesterday afternoon flower arranging, I collected all the cut off rose stems that people were throwing in the bin, and some of the discarded foliage stems. As I do not have a pew in my home I have hung it up in the hall, there are long trailing bits of ivy and purple spray carnations. If I get cuttings from these wonderful roses I shall be over the moon. They smell heavenly which is rare in a purchased bunch of roses from a supermarket!

Now is the time for hardwood cuttings,and the ladies were only too pleaed for me to take them.

I needed to create somewhere to put them, so decided at the bottom of the allotment where I am establishing a garden, seemed the logical place. Firstly I had to make it rabbit proof – easily said than done.

Out came my trusty little Mantis Tiller, and I spent an hour or so rotovating a border in front of the bank by the hedge that runs alongside the field. I decided that in order to give my cuttings a chance of survival, I must make it rabbit proof; I dug a trench the whole width. Next I hammered in some metal posts, to support sheets of corrugated iron which I put in the trench and backfilled with soil both sides and added more posts. This took me all morning.

This afternoon I did the same along the side. I used the tiller to create a border edge, and then added a barrow load of pig manure to the border where the cuttings were to go. This was covered in black plastic to suppress the weeds, then each cutting was re-cut, dipped in hormone powder and pushed into the plastic. In two years time I should have lots of rose bushes and shrubs – hopefully, for flower arranging.

It is amazing how much time it took, but it will be worth it if it keeps the rabbits out, and ends up as beautiful as I envisage. It all looks a bit Heath Robinson, and bare, but when the shrubs grow next year they will hide the fencing. As you have to remember that we are in a field in the countryside and the allotments are not like the ones you have in the towns, with neat pathways. There are restrictions on doing anything permanent like that - as much as I would like to have a proper wooden fence and permanent paths etc, but everything has to be temporary that can be taken down and removed easily, hence the short posts just hammered in.

Pat gave the elder tree its third No.1. haircut this year, as it had almost obscured the shed door making it difficult for me to prise it open.

We finished up by digging up parsnips, and carrots for the Sunday roast, and picking Cherokee beans, and another icecream tub of raspberries, some of which we had for tea mixed with necterines and yoghurt.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Janet,
    Good to hear from you again. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and seeing the photos. You have worked hard. A fantastic harvest for your first year - well done. I shall definately try your Morocan stew recipe - sounds delicious.
    If it is OK with you I would like to add a link on my web site.

    Keep up the good work.
    Kind Regards
    Beryl Saunders.


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