Diary of a Rocket Gardener – A Spring Clean

So, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the veg patch lately and it shows. What a sad looking plot! Hey ho. You can’t blame me – it’s been pouring with rain, cold, windy and generally a bit British out there, so I’ve been hibernating. Still, it’s Easter weekend this weekend, the clocks have gone forward and I am DETERMINED to get out there and restore my veg patch to its former glory. Hopefully my list of jobs might inspire you with a few jobs of your own, if not over Easter then over the coming weeks before it’s time to plant!

  1. Pull up old winter crops. I’ve already given the broccoli plants to the hens (they love it!) and pulled up my last parsnip. But I’ve got a few slightly sad looking leeks in the ground, and lots of leaves that are definitely looking a little worse for wear now after so much rain and snow. It’s time they all came up and made an appearance at dinner to leave some space for my spring veggies.
  2. Go no-dig! I’m super excited about this…I’m not going to weed the raised beds, I’m going to smother them with compost instead! This is going to involve quite a lot of wheelbarrowing which should also help to get me back in shape after a lazy few months of Netflix and red wine. I’m hoping to cover all the beds (there are 7 of them) with about 6 inches compost/leaf mould/manure to suppress weeds and introduce fresh nutrients to the soil. Over time, this will be worked in by the wormies and other bugs, improving the quality of my soil.
  3. Repair my greenhouse. It took a real battering this winter with quite a few strong gales that were successful in blowing in some of the sheets of plastic that were serving as windows. I also need to wash down the windows well.
  4. Weed pathways & lay new woodchip. This is an important job to do as I don’t want the weeds to spring to life, flower and seed – the seeds would only end up in my raised beds which is something I am trying to avoid.
  5. Warm up soil for potatoes – I’ve already got the bed ready (I released the hens into it to do some weeding and fertilising for me!) but I’m going to lay some of that black weed mesh over it for a couple of weeks. With the soil warmer when I plant the seed potatoes they should grow a bit quicker and stronger.
  6. Lay down black polythene for my new pumpkin patch – the idea is that the polythene will kill off the weeds underneath while my pumpkins are growing. I did this last year as well to sort out a part of the plot that was covered in brambles, and this year I’m going to do the same on a much bigger scale so that next year I can plant up a cottage garden in the weed-free soil.
  7. Dig up woody weeds – some weeds won’t be easily killed by the no-dig method, or the black polythene – time to get the spade out and dig out brambles, dock leaves, dandelions and a couple of other naughty, persistent weeds.

I think that should be more than enough for one weekend. Let the challenge begin!!