As regular readers will know, our garden project motto is ‘all in the fullness of time’, but even for us, that fullness of time does eventually arise. And so it is that we’ve reached the point in our lives when the fruit cage has gone from an idea, and then a firm aspiration, to – by way of some vague preparatory work – becoming an actual project.
As with most of these things, this is 90% down to the other half actually getting on with things while I waft around having ideas (and being quite busy, in fairness to me). Anyway, over the last few weeks, he has done his bit which was to take the remnants of an old chicken enclosure and turn it into something that will eventually keep birds out, rather than keep them in.
Now that I’m out from underneath the latest pile of work, my job is to try and hold back the other marauding forces that will imperil our fruit production: the nettles and brambles that were fully established in that corner of the garden. We’d given ourselves something of a head start by covering up the bulk of the area with a load of compost and our stock of manky carpet more than three years ago, topped off another load and finished with pallets which is how it’s stayed for the last 18 months (I really wasn’t kidding about the fullness of time, you know).
The carpet has now finally been removed (with some difficulty – some of the weeds had quite happily established themselves on the carpet, effectively knitting it together) and it’s done its job in that it’s kept the soil underneath at least superficially clear of weeds – but as I’ve been discovering, it’s still about 30% weed root by volume, as evidenced by the impressive and growing pile of rooted-up roots we have managed to generate.
After a busy few weeks of being more or less chained to the laptop, two mornings spent with a garden fork adding to the pile is actually rather a satisfying job. It’s been mild and dry for a couple of days, all the muck and compost we added to the soil has turned into something rather nice to work with, and even though I know that at best I’m slowing the invading forces rather than eliminating them, every handful of weed root feels like a step in the right direction.
There’s still a lot of digging to do, but my mind is already turning to what we can put in there once it’s all ready to go. Blueberries and raspberries are top of the list – but what would you plant?