Spring Fever

Yep, I am on a roll. πŸ˜€ Spring has sprung and I have been bitten by the gardening bug! πŸ˜€ I have Spring fever. πŸ˜€ It’s wonderful. πŸ˜€

Just substitute March for September my southern Hemisphere friends

We made the drive back to Diggers today to grab more strawberries and 2 Diggers Gold raspberry canes. Arriving home with 2 out of 3 kids asleep in the car and Orik content to watch out the window (you didn’t expect him to be the awake one did you πŸ˜‰ ) I grabbed one of the kids trowels and in the light drizzle we’ve had much of the day I got our purchases planted. I also grabbed a packet of Tansy and carpet Thyme, the seeds of which I scattered over various garden beds. Then we went in for lunch.

This is the Diggers Gold raspberry. Something a bit different to spice up a fruit salad.

The thing about the gardening bug is that it cares not whether the weather is raining, hailing or even snowing. If it bites it will insist that you get your hands dirty. No. Matter. What! Fortunately for us the weather improved somewhat (it stopped drizzling) so the boys and I headed outside. Allegra played inside. In the garden I finished wiring up the 2 remaining kiwis and the Cara Cara orange tree too which sadly has broken off the top few inches so I am hoping with the extra “watering” it receives from Jasper it will survive and thrive. πŸ˜‰ We shall see. I then pulled a few weeds out and wandered around playing with the boys and just generally enjoying being outside. The greenhouse needed a good watering and whilst I was in there watering both garden and Orik with the hose I decided to transfer the cuttings I had put in the garden of sage into the front hugelkultur gardens. Imagine my surprise when I realised I also had lemon balm growing there. I had tried to grow cuttings with no success but clearly when I had pulled out the dead twigs I had left behind live root or something which has since, with fertilising (fish emulsion) and watering, sprouted. πŸ™‚ Happy! I have been looking for seeds each time I had visited Diggers but sadly the Garden of St Erth store is out of stock at the moment. Looks like I don’t need them after all. πŸ˜€ I also pulled a few mint up which, given the divine smell seems to be a combination of mint and spearmint, to plant out there too. I know well that it grows like topsy but I’ve planted it at the very base of the beds, poking under the actual logs so if it runs too far it will be trodden on. And we can easily pull it out (not all I know) to keep it manageable. I very much look forward to seeing how the gardens look over the summer and indeed, next spring.

Comfrey. Great for making a fertiliser tea from the leaves or to just put the leaves in your compost too. The leaves can also be used as a poultice to aid and assist in healing. I believe the roots can also be ground and made into a hard setting paste which helps to heal broken bones. This stuff is pretty special!

I am hoping too that I have not managed to kill my 3rd comfrey plant. Comfrey, like mint, is pretty much impossible to kill so please allow me to take a bow as I have managed several times to shock various people with my admission of committing comfrey plant murder not once, but twice! I only hope it’s not thrice as I plan to grow as much comfrey as possible along the edges of all my hugelkultur beds. David Holmgren has, at his property Melliodora in Hepburn Springs (you can read here about the day Lynda and I went on a Melliodora tour), hundreds, if not thousands of comfrey, all lining the paths and garden edges at the base of his raised beds. They are nutrient mining plants and will send down wonderfully deep roots to mine for and bring to the surface and make available the nutrients otherwise unavailable to shallower rooted plants They’re no good under citrus or other trees with sensitive and shallow roots but around the edges of the garden beds they should help boost soil fertility. Anyway, I gave the area in which my comfrey plant was last seen (they are dormant in the winter) a thorough soaking with the hose and here’s hoping.

Anyway, by this time my socks were sodden and Orik pretty much soggy from head to toe with Jasper pretty damp too so we headed inside to dry off and warm up. πŸ™‚

I feel like my addiction has been sated for today and hopefully the feeling will get us through until Saturday as tomorrow we are off to the Ballan Literacy Trail which should be great. Saturday and Sunday will hopefully be a big weekend in the garden for us though. Moving a woodpile and planting trees and maybe even plating out some of the pond if I can get the rocks collected. Lots of fun for everyone! πŸ˜€

Has anyone else been bitten by Spring Fever?


18 thoughts on “Spring Fever

  1. ingridlee@bigpond.com says:

    Been bitten big time! Lol

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Been bitten πŸ™‚ It’s a funny feeling, after trying to hibernate all winter you suddenly have this urge to do everything…. right now!

    • Yes. That’s it exactly! πŸ˜€ it’s hard though when the weather is not co-operative. We get frosts until November (well we’ve had them on New Years Day in the past here I believe) so I need to weigh up seed planting and readiness to plant out on cup weekend. Frustrating.

      • We do too. Last year Roger planted his spuds etc around this time (has done so again this year) and it’s my job to put on and take off the polythene every day….pain in the neck at the time but great to get earlier crops. Do you get pysilid (sp) bug there? This seems to be the only way we can beat it, they don’t come around till it warmer and by then the potatoes are going strong.

  3. Once upon a time…a long time ago…but I’m not seduced by our famous false springs any more. I do see oodles of people though, lined up at cash registers buying the frost tenders and always tomatoes. In another month or two they’ll be back buying those same plants again. It’s an insane Tasmanian ritual. The garden shops are shameless aiders and abettors though sticking them in lush glory under our winter weary noses. For another month, the best thing I can do for my soil is to let it sit some more and warm up and get active again. Tasmanians are renowned for getting in their and turning their soil back into a cold bed instead of letting some of the self sowers do their thing when it’s time to do their thing. Nope! I’m still knitting for another month yet….

    • You’ve learned from experience. πŸ™‚ My veggie beds are all occupied by winter crops so no room yet for tender annuals. They’re ready to harvest around November or so being garlic and onions (standard and potato onions) which ties in well. But the fruit trees, berry bushes and other perennials can all go out now.

    • I poked my head into the nursery in town today and yep, they too have advanced tomato seedlings (over a foot tall) but frost free weather here is still 2 months away. Apparently Christmas decorations are out in shops now too. It’s shocking isn’t it.

  4. Jo says:

    I’m with Tanya of Suburban Jubilee. I live just a suburb away, and oh my goodness, it’s sunny today, but there will be frost Tuesday night, and pouring rain. All I’m brave enough to do is the weeding, and I nagged long enough that The Boy went out and mowed the lawn for the first time since Autumn. Actually, what I need to do is the winter pruning that somehow slipped off the radar. Ooops!
    At least you are planting out nice tough plants! But watch that lemon balm. It will try to take over your entire garden bed too. It’s no accident that it survived actually being pulled out of the soil! Put it next to the mint and keep an eagle eye on it!

    • Thanks for the hint about the lemon balm. It’s no surprise it goes all crazy like as it’s a cousin of mint which I learned this morning. I might move it now whilst I have the chance. πŸ˜‰

  5. Linne says:

    Spring fever! I wish!! BTW, what are these ‘potato onions’ you have mentioned a few times now? I’ve never heard or read of them . . . Do they set seed or do you have to start them from sets?

    I used to grow mint and comfrey in 5 gallon buckets with a large hole cut out of the bottom, then planted deep so only a few inches of the sides were above ground. Works pretty well for containing the ‘problem’ plants.

    Do you know if you can still find one gallon glass jugs where you are? We used to be able to get them from restaurants and the like, but now it’s all plastic stuff. I ask because if you remove the bottoms they make great cloches to set over tender plants that are set out early. You can fasten a wire tightly around the cap, then leave a loop and twist the other end ’round the neck of the jug. When it’s warm in the sun, the cap can be removed and let dangle for a few hours (just be sure to replace the caps before it gets too chilly in the evening).

    If you want an easy way to remove the bottoms, let me know and I’ll share . . . ~ Linne

    • I too had never heard of potato onions until Autumn Diggers catalogue. They are an onion but u plant 1 bulb and it multiplies for harvest. Planting a small one to harvest a few large bulbs or plant a large one to harvest many small bulbs. Well, so I’ve heard. πŸ™‚

  6. foodnstuff says:

    Comfrey along the edge of hugelkultur beds? Thanks for a great idea!

    I am so disappointed in my potato onions. They all rotted away. They were going so well last autumn, but the winter was obviously too cold and wet for them, even though they were in built up beds. Will be interested to see how yours go.

    • Mine are in raised beds too and I have had most come up with green tops. I look forward to seeing how they go too.

      David Holmgren doesn’t have hugelkuktur mounded up beds but just normal raised or marked out beds but he does has comfrey and his corn were well over 2m tall so I figure it’s worth a try with comfrey around the hugelkuktur beds. πŸ™‚

  7. narf77 says:

    The garden bug bit me too! I was bums up deadheading the aggies down the driveway and chopping the stalks up finely to make mulch carpets for the newly planted trees and shrubs that we have been installing wherever they will fit on Serendipity Farm. We even put 2 conifers out on the road verge! I then fed snails to the duck as I have found their hiding place (we have a LOT of agapanthus πŸ˜‰ ). She has a pavlov’s response now whenever I call “Ducky..ducky…ducky!” and starts running ;). I had a lovely big cup of tea sitting waiting for me up the steps but I just had to stop and deadhead the perennials and chop them back onto the garden bed…I…couldn’t…stop…AARRGGHH! Finally I had to head up the steps to get that cuppa (now cold) and promising myself all the way that I would finish the rest tomorrow… Why didn’t you say you wanted lemonbalm? It’s called “Melissa” here and grows like weeds…it is considered a weed actually and most people pull it out. I let it go nuts and love it :). Horseradish also tunnel mine the soil along with comfrey. We are going to try to grow lots of both to break up the thick layer of clay 200mm down. I am twitching to go back outside right now! I can’t…I have stromboli to make for Steve’s tea…there is always tomorrow…

  8. LyndaD says:

    I envy all you “stay at homes:. Im so frustrated, having caught the bug too, to come home in the dark each night. The two day weekend is just crammed with housework, shopping, cleaning out the chickens yard and events. I’ll be lucky if i get an hour out there. I want to watch my plants growing like you girls. I want to visit Jess and check out all this mad spring fever planting but there is just not enough time. Arghh!!!!!! Im laughing at the references to early tomatoes. Last year i would have and did shop till i dropped too but now i know better and the tomato bed soil is resting and growing strong. Its just a matter of education. Dont feel bad Jess, i killed my confrey plant too.

  9. I have been bitten by the bug, you should have seen me go yesterday! It involved cleaning as well as mulching though, and visiting a few sustainable house day gardens in my area.

  10. Chris Dawson says:

    Did your ‘diggers gold’ raspberries ever have yellow fruit?

    I tried twice and they were red both times. They also weren’t dual cropping! Considering how much I pay for diggers plants and their high postage prices I hoped I would at least get what I paid for.

    • No. They actually never survived the summer. My bad on watering.

      I’ve been quite disappointed with both Clive Blazey and his elite attitude to gardening as well as the Diggers plants in general. I let my membership lapse 12 months or so ago. It’s irrelevant now though I guess as my family and I have just migrated to Wales.

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