Wednesday, April 26, 2006


At last our garden is starting to look more like a vegetable patch than a dump site. I've filled one of those crates with top soil and soil improver and it is now a gorgeous herb garden containing 3 types of mint (one for making mint tea), chamomile, thyme, lavender, rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, fennel, French tarragon, and more. We have planted nasturtiums and marigolds in amongst it. According to the organic farming book that I've been reading, planting flowers in amongst a veggie patch can help to eliminate unwanted critters, such as aphids, greenfly, caterpillars etc. Flowers growing within the patch will attract beneficial wildlife to the garden - creatures such as butterflies, ladybirds, bees and wasps etc. They will then east the bad bugs and help to reduce the need for pesticides. I've yet to find out if that will work. I think the blustering wind that we get up here will be more of a problem to our little baby vegetables. I keep expecting them to have been blown away when I wake up every morning.

Yesterday Sam helped me to dig a trench along our old chicken wire pen. We planted some mange tout peas, and some nasturtiums. Sam dug his own whole and has planted a beautiful climbing plant with yellow flowers, and some marigolds beneath it. Luke helped, as usual, by replanting some herbs in the herb garden. He dug a whole and then buried some thyme under a mound of soil. Nice work. I don't discourage him though as its great for him to be outdoors and to develop a love of nature. Sometimes it takes me twice the time to do something with him around but its worth it. Sam enjoyed the hour we spent digging and planting. He barely stopped to take a breath and spent the whole time nattering away. Him and Jude are rehearsing their own version of the Phantom of the Opera which they will perform to us tomorrow night, with music! Sam puts on a performance every Thursday evening. He puts a lot of effort into it - making costumes, writing programs, drawing posters, teaching Luke his lines, recording music to sing along to.

Anyway, today we dug in another old crate. Steve helped to dig it into the ground. Afterwards he realized that I had in fact worked very hard on the herb garden! He thought I just threw a bit of soil in and hey presto! LOL. But no, this time he was helping, and he had to dig a trench the size of the crate to set it into the earth a bit. It looks much better than just sitting it on the lumpy bumpy clay that is there. He then realized how much digging I'd had to do already and why I had back ache! He helped me to fill the crate with the new soil and then he took the kids off to their archery lesson, and Luke to play at the soft play area. Steve has a day off today. While he has been gone I have planted 12 lettuces, 3 patches of salad rocket, and 2 broccoli (at least I think they are broccoli - cant be sure as the name stick had blown away! ) So we now have a nice salad bed too, with calendula flowers mixed into it.

There is still so much more to do but I really enjoy being out in the garden. This quite surprises me as I have never really been an outdoor person. In the summer if its nice I may sit in the garden for 5 minutes - but then I feel guilty for relaxing and go back to the ironing and cleaning. But being outside with a purpose is different. I get fresh air with out guilt! Fabulous!

When I find the camera I shall take a photo of the new veg beds and load them into the blog too. I bought some Aphids traps on ebay. They arrived a moment ago. Apparently the bright yellow sticky traps attract aphids etc and they get stuck on it - a bit like fly paper. Sounds good to me. It doesn't say on the packet whether other insects such as ladybirds will also fall fowl to the traps so I will have to put one out and experiment with it. Poor Jude would be ever so upset if we started killing bumble bees or ladybirds, or butterflies!

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