Making more work for myself.

During #MakeMayCount, I need to embrace activities that happen beyond the garden and value them as productive time.  Yesterday I spent several hours in the morning doing some computer gardening but found myself getting frustrated at being indoors because I had to do some gardening to make it count.   But what I was doing was the kind of things that pay me so I am free to garden to my hearts content and it is all gardening related so I need to embrace computer gardening in the same way I would embrace scrabbling about in the dirt as gardening.  Besides, it is a lot cleaner and a lot warmer – especially at this time of year.

Weedy bed
It shouldn’t take too long to clear up this messy bed.

So, a larger chunk of my day than I intended was spent in creative computer gardening, but it was fun and satisfying to see the job completed.  I emerged out into a sunny day with a bit of a breeze with a slight bite in it with the feeling of making up for lost time.   But I still needed to reign myself in a little.  I want to use this month to reset bad habits.  Isn’t it if you do something 21 times in a row it can be considered a habit?  (A quick google check reveals that is a myth and you need between 66 and 254 days.) 

I have a considerable sized pile of Inkweed that will need dealing with very soon.

Either way, I need to get back into good routines I’d fallen out of the habit of doing.  First thing should be hoeing the paths in the sector of the day.  So, for a Monday it is sector one.  This is generally the group of beds in the best condition as I’m normally rearing to go on a Monday.  The Friday sector is in a bit of a state, but we’ll come to that later.  I do enjoy hoeing the paths and normally it is just lopping off the head of a weed here and there that decided to come up.   But at this time of year there are hundreds of tiny weed seedlings that seem to pop up every day and it isn’t a good idea to skip this step.

animal tracks
Goodness knows who made these tracks but there didn’t seem to be any noticeable harm done to the garden where it passed through.

The other benefit of a sand path, other than being hoe-able, is I can see who has been wandering around the garden, from the size 11 shoes of a teen lad off to feed the chickens and the footprint of the chickens that invariably escape during said feeding.  Sometimes I see a well-worn rat path that tells me it would be a good idea to move the rat trap.  The insects make interesting trails and then there are the unidentifiable that you hope don’t belong to something that could destroy the garden in an afternoon.

Rat hole
The cheek of it… digging a nest on the other side of the wall to the rat trap!

While hoeing the paths I get to look at the sector as a whole and decide what needs to be done and I return to my garden office to make a list.  At this time of year there isn’t that much to be done in sector one although the cut flower bed needs a major overhaul – but that is a project, not a task, so I leave it for now, until I have the time.

dead rat
I always feel a little sad to see a dead rat, but at least with the Goodnature rat trap it had a tasty bite and didn’t see the swift end coming.

Then I’m supposed to go through all the beds in the sector to whip out weeds and tend to needs.  But there isn’t much going on there at all right now.  Although I noticed the peas will need picking soon.  I’ll need to check this every day, so I get them at peak perfection – still sweet and tender and not to big and hard.

Making a rock
I’m making great progress on the rock, although the under hanging bits are a little tricky to make stick.

Then I am training myself to spend some time working on the rock.  It is a large project and I’ll need to install it in the garden sooner rather than later so I can’t afford to dilly dally.  I find I can manage to do 3 batches of cementy fabric mixed in 2L ice cream containers before I get too bored with the process and it is enough to make it feel like I’ve made a good amount of progress.

Spreading the mustard seed cover crop
I love using my hand held spreader to distribute the seeds – it makes an even spread and it is fun to use.

Due to the late garden start I looked about the garden for a quick and easy project that would be all show for little effort, and I spied the small pumpkin bed.   It maybe because it was in the Friday sector, but it had become quite feral since the pumpkins were removed, and in my April tour video I noticed a rat hole in it – right beside the rat trap – oh the audacity!  So, I thought I’d quickly whip the weeds out, cave in the hole and sow a cover crop.   That shouldn’t take more than half an hour and look impressive. 

firewood from prunings
I found myself with a nice pile of firewood from the prunings to fuel the fire pit for lovely autumn evenings around the a warm glow with a glass of something warming.

But when I am immersed in a project, I find myself being very thorough and can’t bring myself to cut corners.  Well, I am working for me, and as a boss I’m quite the stickler for a job well done.   So, as I was weeding the far end of the bed, I noticed the tree lupins had self-seeded during the growing season and were significantly overhanging the bed.  This couldn’t be allowed, so I grabbed secateurs and loppers and cleared them away. 

weeded garden bed
Job done…. the bed is weeded, seeded with a mustard cover crop and watered. Although there is an unexpected large pile of lupin branches that need to be shredded.

I also noticed some Inkweed which seems to really like it here, but it spreads easily and is toxic, so it needed to go.  This found me scrambling about up the hill behind the pumpkin bed pulling it all out.  I got most of it by the tap root although a couple of spots need digging out. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it as I’m not going to add it to the compost, and it has ripe seeds on it.  I think I might let it dry out and then burn it. 

carrots and parsnips
There is nothing like gathering some fresh vegies at the end of a hard day in the garden to make a delish meal for the family.

Eventually as the sun was beginning to go down, I spread a mustard seed cover crop over some clean weed and rat free soil and looked at the mountain of lupin branches that need to be run through the shredder.  So much for a quick and easy job, I now have shredding to add to the ‘to do’ list. 

Come again soon – it is another blue sky day full of opportunities to get things done.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)  

5 thoughts on “Making more work for myself.

    1. Yup – that was parsnips. The key to growing them is fresh seeds. They don’t keep well (especially beyond a year) so make sure your seeds are as fresh as possible. There are all sorts of tricks like pre sprouting them in damp paper towels in a plastic bag and then plant out. But I’ve had no trouble at all when using fresh seeds. Make sure the soil isn’t too cold – warmer than 10C and they like a soil that is is light and fluffy and isn’t too nutrient rich or they can fork. I hope this helps. All the best with it. : o)

  1. Is inkweed the same as poke weed? If so, what is it doing there? It is not native here, but somehow moved in a few years ago. It happens to make good ink, although brightly colored. It is not something I would intentionally grow, but some people really like it. It is such a big plant to make just a small volume of greens, and it too potentially toxic if the greens are a bit too mature. I would rather grow something that does not occupy so much space, and is not at all toxic.

    1. I think inkweed and pokeweed is the same thing. I did a bit of looking about and discovered it was introduced in 1867 as an ornamental but it likes it here and spreads easily thanks to the birds. As it gets so big and is poisonous it isn’t welcome in my garden at all. : o)

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