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Making the beds

Posted in : In the field

At last the shorts come out

Once again May arrived on time this year and it was time to slap on the shorts and drag the trusty old rotavator kicking and screaming out of it's winter hide away. A swift tankful of petrol later and it was a much happier bunny and almost looking forward to playing in the soil. We had a lot to do in a very short space of time this year as everything was running a tad behind schedule due to one thing and another. This basically meant that we had 8 afternoons to rotavate and stake out both greenhouses so that we could slap 600+ plants in the ground. So, without further delay, I fired up the rotavator and started meandering along flower beds.

This year we'd once again sterilised the beds to keep the weeds at bay, something that we didn't do last year, and regretted when the rains came ... and stayed for a while ... it ended up being to wet to pull the weeds out, without dragging out huge clods of soil, and the blanket of weeds kept the beds wet and stopped them drying out ... rock and a hard place springs to mind ... so this year we decided to kill the buggers before they got beyond the "I'm a seed" stage ... unfortunately this meant that all the beds needed an extra rotavation to make sure that the soil was turned over and the sterilising agent dispersed, we don't want to kill the plants before we even get going ;)

A few days later

After several days and a few passes of the rotavator the beds are pretty much ready for staking out so that we can plant up. A few years ago Barry decided that he should knock all the stakes in as I'm incapable of knocking in any of the 600+ stakes in an upright manner ... I've done my best to make sure he continues with that decision ... so a tad later, with a knackered Barry stood beside me, we're looking at 12 beds fully staked up and ready for the plants ... it's a good moment ... especially since I'm not the knackered muppet ;)

The next day started early ... 11am is very early for me to be dragged off a pc huh? ... and was basically a production line involving Barry wheeling barrow loads of plants from the small greenhouse, where they'd been waiting patiently, and putting one by every stake. I got the job of shuffling along on my arse, in just my shorts, planting each one in it's new home, you should see how fast they'll grow now that they're in the soil. Eventually all the plants had been brought in and slapped by the stake that was gonna be their support for the next few months, so Barry started to help me plant up the last couple of beds. I gave Barry the glory of planting the last plant in the large greenhouse ... not because I'm generous, but because he finished his side of the row slower than me, he's getting on a tad huh? ;)

From nothing to planted in 1 day

After the large greenhouse the small greenhouse is a doddle, it only holds about 120 plants so with a tad of effort it can be prepped up, rotavated and planted all in the same day ... unfortunately this time I'm the muppet that has to make the effort. The rotavator lept through the beds happily, knowing that it was one of the last times it would be used and could soon go back to it's winter home and sleep for the rest of the year. In next to no time the 3 beds were ready for the stakes to go in ... time to go remind Barry how crap I am at knocking them in straight ... thankfully he once again agrees with me.

It wasn't long before we were standing back and looking at a fully planted up small greenhouse. It's a good job really because he was off for a weeks holiday in a couple of hours time and Wendy would have killed him if it had been delayed. Now all that was left was for me to rescue our veg patch so that the rotavator could head off for its much needed rest until next year, but that's another story and another post ;) ... for now we were just happy to finally see all of the plants in the ground as they're far happier when they get out of their pots and everything is much easier to water ... made even easier by the fact that we have an irrigation system in both greenhouses, although you still need to hand water to ensure that each plant gets enough without drowning them all.

With all that done I meandered off to console a lonely looking crate of beer. It seemed to cheer up when I offered to take it out to sit in the sun for a quiet evening ;)


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