Friday, April 25, 2014

Hot beds, cold hands

Last year was a cold spring here in Dorset and things got off to a very slow start (or, as in the case of my wild flower bank, didn't get off to a start at all). So this year I thought I'd help some of the plants to have warm feet at least, by creating hot beds in one of the greenhouses. (There's a good article by Bunny Guinness - BBC Radio 4 Gardeners' Question Time panelist - in The Telegraph)

I loose-laid 3 courses of bricks on edge in the smaller greenhouse to create a three-sided raised bed over a foot deep. Into the bottom went the remains of over-wintered brassica plants, on top of that went fresh horse manure, then dry garden shreddings, followed by quite a depth of fresh pulled weeds and comfrey (mixed with torn-up egg boxes). On top of that went a good layer of mature horse manure (the manure was mature, I've no idea of the age of the horses) and finally I tipped on a layer of compost.

Of course, now I'm fussing over it. I have been going into the greenhouse each morning and feeling the compost, which is nice and soft to the touch, then pushing my hand into the layers (I can almost hear you saying "yuck") to see if it feels warm - which it doesn't really, not yet anyway.

The hot beds
The hot beds

It's not all hot-bed fun, other jobs have been done too of course, here's a couple more pictures, just to give a flavour of spring progress.

Inside the cold frame
Inside the cold frame, cabbage, leeks, peas, spring onions

View over garlic and shallots
View over garlic and shallots,
with, behind, fleece-covered potatoes and bean poles a-ready.

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