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Posts Tagged ‘drainage’

What You Doing?

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Actually young man I am trying to ‘cat proof’ my flower/bulb beds.  After your last visit I decided to take advice from various people who know and re did the Hexagon planter planted it up with gladioli then covered it with stones.  This I have been told would do two things, firstly deter you and secondly help keep the ground moist during summer.

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So I shall be collecting small stones to place along the lines of gladie’s and lilies in the back garden, then I also covered part of the main bed with them in the hope this really works.  As this is a work in progress I shall save up the pictures and tell the whole story later, don’t hold your breath though this is a ‘can’t be rushed’ thing, but it’s getting there.  I also bought some Hebes which I have planted behind the Hexagon.  Here I cleared the ground, placed plastic over the area covered it with sand then earth and planted the Hebes in an arc.  Unfortunately we had a rain storm and the rush of water from the fields not only brought loads of earth with it but washed away a bit of the plastic around the last two plants.  But all is sorted, once we realized what had happened Michael re-laid that covered it with earth and watered them in.

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Now to the Lillie garden.  This is how it looked after the hot summer, loads of weeds and a stone wall that was a disgrace, so it was my priority. The first thing I had to consider was the water pipe. This runs from the large cisterna behind the house into the header tank, it also takes the overflow from the tank down into that cisterna – when it rains – so I couldn’t cement it in.  What to do? well I cleared all the weeds then looked at the Lilies to see where they came into contact with it.  This done I next removed all the stones from that horrid ‘wall’ and started again.  This time I concentrated on the plants and pipe together.  The first thing I did was build up the end wall near the step, clearing things as I went, I moved along tidying it up. Next I cemented it all together added topping stones job done.  Where the pipe ran through the bed I used the violets (which had self-seeded) next to it as part of the cover then covered the exposed bits with stones. This made a small narrow garden at the front into which I planted some baby bulbs so whatever comes up will be a nice surprise.  The metal support you see in the top used to hold a water pipe until the new cisterna was built. Michael had secured it in place so well we couldn’t get it out, so it has Sweetpeas planted round it which are growing and hopefully they will cover it but I have other things that can climb if not.

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This is the Mint garden that runs from the Lillie bed down to the cisterna. Again this was full of weeds and looking rather shoddy compared to the Sage bush on the other side of the water duct.  This was a little bit easier to sort out, once weeded and cleaned up I just covered the ground with stones, cemented the edge, filled in various holes. You will notice a small patch at the end of the bed this is part of the path leading up to the fields one day it will be concreted over just here so this is still a work in progress.

This Is Horace

DSCF3271 (640x480)I found him hiding in the tomato grow bag one year not very amused when I disturbed him. I have seen him around the garden on the days when the sun is out so glad he’s ok.  He and the others that live here have often flummoxed  me as there is no water up here, no pond, nada.  So where does he go? where does he and the others – there are smaller ones – live?  We hear them on a spring or autumn evening, croaking away but although like the bats, we see them where they go in summer for coolness we’ve no idea.  Ah well it is and will remain one of the forests mysteries.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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I was discussing gardening with a friend and realised that gardening here is rather different from the UK.  For a start the growing season is from October – when it gets cooler and is supposed to rain – through to end April after that it begins to get far too hot.  My wife likes to grow things such as tomatoes, peppers and her herbs so we have been on a learning curve for some while.

Innovation comes to mind when water is not readily available, as in previous posts I have explained that Manel brings the house water up when needed 5000 lts to fill the cisterna.

Then we have three 1000 ltr cubes for the garden which we fill from rain water or get topped up plus a 8ltr tank for the ‘Water Bar’ which is so vital to wildlife up here.  So when thinking of planting this is how it goes.  First what do we eat a lot of, what takes the least amount of water and can it be grown in pots, tubs etc.? Then of course what tubs etc do we have what can re-recycle?

To answer these questions and explain why my wife grows them I shall start with the simples.  Over here it is not impossible to buy fruit and veg cheaply.  Most gardens grow their own food resulting in surplus which they take to a little shop on a share basis ie, they sell the goods and share the profit.  But most of the women here grow their own herbs or walk the country roads picking wild herbs for the kitchen, whilst keeping an eye open for the wild asparagus which will be available in spring or for the snails.  This is typical country people’s fare and they know where to look and find it.

The women make preserves and tomato fritto which doubles as a sauce, soup and additive to dishes, and my wife makes chutney and relish. So she grows her produce in various containers to keep the bugs at bay.  Here it is said when buying plants or sowing seeds one for the bugs one for us..

So my wife trawled through the various gardening magazines – surprising how many have perfectly good ideas but refuse to sell to Europe they really are short sighted – and then looked round for things to adapt.

The first was an old toilet which after it had been cleaned and the waste pipe end blocked,  I set up under the tree cemented it in place and filled the bottom  with stones for drainage then topped it with compost and we planted strawberries in it.  To assist with the watering I installed a self watering drip feed and the strawbs are now over hanging the loo and the fruit are large and sweet. Using things like old sinks & loo’s earns 5 *****.

For the tomatoes we tried two ways of planting.  One was in the garden against the wall of the generator house the other was in growbags. The result was that we had lots of big beef toms and a toad took up residence at the end so the role of growbags gets 4 ****’s.

Next came a very ingenious idea the use of unwanted guttering and drain pipes.  The guttering is simple and can either be set on a wall with brackets or on a  x—–x horse the ends caped off then filled with compost then planted with salad.  The drain pipe can be cut to short length and used to bring on celery.

Well that’s how far my wife has got this year, but next year I expect she will be better prepared. I have seen the cement and stones out but what is going on I am not sure…..  I can say however that off of the single butternut plant we have had several tasty fruit.

Nothing is un-usable you can find a use for most objects in the garden just make sure they have drainage holes and the rest is imagination, ingenuity and fun  but the results are fresh food wonderful.

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