Thursday, September 15, 2016

Coriander, More Riddling, Cherry Trees and I-don't-know-anything-about-this-but

 Harvested almost all (one row is still in flower) of the coriander today. Here it is in a colossal bunch, hanging up in the old shed. I'm hoping it'll shrink back a bit so that I can fit it into a hessian sack and catch the seeds before they start to fall.

One of my few succesful crops this year, and I'm for growing it again. The scent of it when it rains is gorgeous. And I noticed that it attracted unrecognisable (to me) insects, quite unlike the honey, bumble and other bees, hoverflies etc which went for the phacelia.

Flops over terribly, interfering with my neeps this year. Next year I'm going to grow it in 4ft squares with some kind of support around them.

Below, 2 photos of the riddling process, before and after. Before show a spadeful of earth in the riddle. After shows how much is left by way of stones and gravel once I've got the earth out.



As you can see, maybe 1/3 of the spadeful's volume was stones. It makes me wonder, in this plot's 99 year history, has anyone ever riddled the earth for stones? Looks like it's up to me.

Finally today, I gave the cherry trees a haircut. I pollarded them over the winter, and they've been putting on a lot of new growth, semi-soft wood twigs up to a yard long. Left to their own devices, it would have gone back to the state it was last year, with cherries growing 20ft in the air. So I cut them all back to 1ft in length or so, which should encourage lateral growth. Probably a couple of years from getting any cherries. One thing I'm learning about fruit: it takes a lot of management. Left alone, it'll go barmy.

So I had 30 or so cuttings. Acting on 1st principles, I got a couple of bucket sized pots, filled them with compost, and pushed in the cuttings round the edges after trimming of the bottom few leaves and cutting off the apex to end its dominance. And then watered them.

This seemed to me the right thing to do. I'm doing something similar with brambles, though I used garden soil for them rather than compost. When I've done this in the past with currant bushes, I've had 100% success, and I'm sure Monty Don did something similar the other night, though I can't remember with what plant, now.

But when I got home I had a google to see if there was any worthwhile craic on how to get cherry trees from cuttings. A couple of the results illustrate why googling for garden information can be a pain in the arse. US sites like this one err on the side of caution, and make a simple job into a surgical operation. But that's fair enough, I suppose, if you can be bothered and want to maximise your chances of getting your cuttings to strike roots.

The google hit that now makes me laugh bitterly is the one you get from aggregated message boards. Someone asks, 'How do I do X?' And the 1st, sometimes the only, response is 'I don't know anything about X, but...' And then they go on to tell the OP all about Y, or that they are sure OP will fail at X. This is typical example. I've seen this so many times, I think I'll start to collect I-don't-know-anything-about-this-but message board responses as a hobby.