Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More Fun with the Mysterious Mound; Plus, a Bonfire

I had to give it up just after 5pm GMT last night, too dark to work. I lit the bonfire, (even with the Co-op firelighters, there was one false start), and got back at the Mysterious Mound with the HDGH and rake. Breaking down the mound wasn't the hard part - it was trying to isolate the ground-elder roots. These are massive.

The methodology is to hack off about 6 inches from the top and side of the mound with the hoe, and then rake it level across the depressed bed, getting out as many root balls as possible with the rake and by hand. And then throw them onto the bonfire, which was tnearby. I was a-feared that the mound might turn out to be another midden. But whilst there is broken glass, pebbles, and fibreglass sheeting through it, it's not been an actual midden. Another thing I noticed, the centre of the mound is bone dry. Which I assume means all those ground elder root systems in the top 12ins soak up all the available water.

As the fire got going, taking care of the ground elder roots, (they have a unique odour as they burn), I took stock of things in the gloaming:

  • The NW bed is now sown with the winter field beans which have germinated, (it takes them about 3 weeks). Apart from weeding between the rows once they're all up and growing, this bed can be more or less forgotten until Spring. 
  • The NE bed is mostly phacelia, which is beginning to fall over and is far past it's best. There are weeds there, too, something which looks a like a kind of sorrel, big leaves. I'm still undecided what to do here.  Scythe it all down, compost all the plants and then dig it over and sow with wfb? The problem is, I need to work on the area which is all fruit bushes. That's where I started to overhaul the plot back in June.  There are two rows of various fruit bushes. All of them will pruned back to the ground. The front row will be transplanted to elsewhere on the boundary. The back row, severely pruned, will stay where  it is as a constituent in the hedgerow. The cherry tree in the middle of the fruit bushes will be coppiced. Long story short, there's a lot of work to be done there, and I can't really cultivate the bed until its done. Maybe I should just trample the phacelia and treat it as a mulch, in be-hopes it will all turn over nicely when the time comes?
  • The old greenhouse foundations. Should I just have one big pond with bridge across the middle? I need to get some kind of central path over this area, whether a bridge or bricks. 
  • The SE bed midden-remains and boundary. A job to be put off. Ugh. 
  • SW bed. Already in process of levelling. 
  • Hedgerow. Follows completion of all the other jobs. Probably plant it in January.
The bottom line is, I've only got ready for cultivation about 25% of the whole plot, i.e. the NW bed. So, I think now would be the time to get the NE bed sorted out and planted with wfbs, ready for next year's neeps and tatties. Then, half the plot will be good to go. I can spend the rest of the winter sorting out the multifarious "challenges" of the southern end.