Fingers crossed

I am rarely grateful for a downturn in the weather but this week I’ve appreciated every drop of rain! My plants clearly have too, I’m sure that they’ve grown more in the last 2 days than in the previous 2 weeks, sadly the weeds have as well! I’ve used the breaks in the rain to carry out some essential but long put-off tasks. My first job was to cut back the comfrey as I realised that it needed a haircut even more than the rest of us (which is saying something!). I used some of the leaves to make another batch of comfrey fertiliser and the rest I split between the compost heaps. It was quite thick and damp in the middle so I think it’ll really appreciate the attention and should come back strongly.
 
I then set to work digging out the old, bindweed ridden, compost heap so that we can start to reuse it. My plan is to dig it out and then line the bottom with weed supressing material to try to keep the bindweed at bay.  The problem is what to do with the compost – I can’t think of an alternative and can’t bear waste, so I’m going through it carefully then using it on my beds. They’ve got a bindweed problem already so hopefully it won’t make too much of a difference if a little gets through.
 
I have also been carrying out the characterisation of the pre-accession varieties that I’m growing in the garden. These are varieties that we’re considering including into the Heritage Seed Library, they’ve past the first tests so are now being grown out and studied. We look at each aspect of the plant from leaves, to flowers, to fruit so I will be studying the shape of leaves, colour of flowers, height of plants, patterns on leaves etc.  A great number of different measurements are taken to give us a clear description of each variety. These will be compared across the variety to ensure consistency, and to other varieties in our collection to ensure that it is suitably different and worth including. This information will also form the basis of the variety’s description in the seed catalogue and will be kept as the blueprint for what future generations should look like. I am assessing a pea called Ave Juan, a Dwarf French bean called Phoenix and a Dwarf French bean (which came to me as a climbing French bean!) which is so far unnamed. Fingers crossed they will all make it into the library and I can feel like I was a little part of their success!
 
More about Lucy...
Lucy is part of the fantastic Heritage Seed Library team, working hard to grow and preserve seed varieties that are no longer available so that our members can enjoy growing them at home. Raising two young children, Lucy is keen to grow an array of fruit and vegetables to become more sustainable and to encourage her children to get involved in growing.
 
Click here for a full list of our Organic Gardening Blogs. There's something to interest everyone, from frugal gardening, wildlife and starting out, to wellbeing and allotment growing. Each series is written by a member of our staff, touching on their own personal experiences. We hope you enjoy reading.
 
Posted: 
Thursday, 18 June 2020