Sunday, 10 February 2013

Pruning the allotment swamp

A quick drizzly trip to the allotment revealed just how far from cultivation things still are - very claggy underfoot, still too wet to dig.  When you get clod-platforms from walking across the paths, you know that you should NOT be venturing into the growing areas...

Dragged down there by my children (interesting role reversal) who wanted to continue their treehouse building exploits, I had my second visit in a week yesterday.

No digging to be done as we squelched around the edges of the plot, so I continued clearing the path down the side, cutting back the hedge and digging out brambles.

Also tackled the list below:

Jobs for February

Cut down autumn fruiting raspberries to the base as they fruit on this year's growth - cut them down to get lots of new fruiting canes.

Prune roses - cut back hybrid teas to 4 or five growing points per stem.  Cut back English shrub roses  by about a third.

Prune blackcurrants - take out older wood (darkest colour) with few sideshoots, keep two year old wood (tea coloured) with plenty of sideshoots as these will bear this year's fruit.

Buy seed potatoes and stand the tubers in egg cartons, or a box, in frost free place to start sprouting those little knobbly shoots (long whizzers mean there's not enough light in the place where you've put them - keep them somewhere cool, frost-free and light).

Still to do this month

Prune apple and pear trees
Prune gooseberries
Prune redcurrants

If (as if!) dry enough, prepare planting areas.

Looks like I'll have to keep my secateurs sharp for the rest of the month and keep on chopping in the absence of other heavy duty tasks.

Have to keep myself busy to resist the urge to sow too many new seeds as it is still a bit too early really - trying to force myself to hang on for another few weeks.


  1. I do hope things dry out for you soon. I was doing a bit of weeding in the garden on Friday as things had started to dry out here - but rain all day today will have reversed that, I'm sure.
    I'm sure that as long as that tree house has to be worked on, you will have no problem getting them down there!

    1. Here's hoping! It has rained ALL day today - horrible weather - and now it has turned once again to snow, with about 2cm lying on all surfaces so far. Amazed it has settled given how sodden everything was. Can't believe we were going through a dry spell this time last year - seems a VERY long time ago!

  2. I would love to go outside and prune the raspberries but it is still -5C outside and snowing. This winter seems to keep on going until the bitter end!

    1. Just as well my kids dragged me down there on Saturday as we had another 3cm of snow last night!
      Sounds like we're a bit warmer than you are though. Drink hot chocolate and browse seed catalogues while you wait for spring.

  3. I have to confess that last weekend I found an area of soil which was dry enough to dig and had a great time turning the soil in anticipation of a cold and frosty week. Usually this time of year is like being in the starting blocks and waiting for the race to start - we really don't want to set off too soon, but we can't wait. It's frustrating when I watch people in warmer places sowing their veggie seeds, but the soil here won't be warm for a long time yet, so like you, I will keep my secateurs sharp and if the weather doesn't improve soon, I may well start building a treehouse.

  4. It's driving me mad! Am very jealous of your dry patch - wish I had one. I may soon invest in an acre of black polythene to cover my world up with for a while in an attempt to dry things out a bit.