Late again, but here in Derbyshire, we can reckon to be 4 weeks behind the south of England, so I have just completed the February jobs of sowing the sweet-peas and setting out the shallots in trays of compost. Daphne Ledward gave this tip, of helping them develop root systems before plunging their bottoms into the hard cold soil.
On Thursday, Stuart and Jan came over to the little allotment with their shiny spades and pick-up and finished clearing the top corner and bottom wild bit under the damson trees. I still feel rather like Margot Leadbetter as Tim called me, getting other gardeners in to do my heavy work, but they are so quick and a strong team. The garden is now fit for planting all over. This was a left-over piece of work. The first day’s labour had been a Christmas present for me from David.
I worked through the green compost bin, turning out really good manure, but thinking about the copious amounts of egg shell am pondering if it has the same effect as lime.- ie don’t spread it at the same time as compost or manure! good for mineralising but maybe not to be included in general compost heaps- need to find out more on this! Anyway I dug a deep trench , sprinkled the compost all along and set out the bean poles for french and runners, and borlotti beans. I also did a similar trench for broad beans and planted the bag of Hurstfields. Borlotti beans did so well for me last summer I shall certainly repeat this year, also french beans.
Jane and I met for a picnic lunch on Friday in the hut. I took orange and rum and she brought hot chocolate. – not a bad mix! Jane is going to start a beehive next month, and has just bought a bee suit on Ebay for £50 – half price, so she is pleased. The hive has to be sited, and then the swarm will come around May.
I envy you your work on the allotment. I am so behind with mine because of work commitments and poor weather. Then we get some beautiful days and I am too ill to go out.
I actually stopped putting eggshell in my compost bin because I got fed up of it taking so long to compost down. It’s not a problem now as I dry them in the oven, pound them down and feed them back to the hens. I don’ t think its mineral release will be enough to impede the manure.
I always put the eggshells in my compost and if they haven’t completely rotted down when I come to use it I just put them back in to the next bin or scrunch them up.
You’re not late at all as I haven’t even bought my sweet pea seeds yet. As my friend Jill says, I have sweet peas flowering later than those folk who sow them before Christmas and it’s very true I still had sweet peas flowering when the first frosts came last year – a real treat!